Hand Woven...With Love From Nepal: GIVEAWAY.

There are some amazing people out there doing amazing things.  Ashley is one of those people.  With a familiar case of wanderlust and adventure, this lovely lady spent eight months traveling the world and exploring all it had to offer.  During her travels, she went to Nepal where she was introduced to the Women's Skill Development Organization (WSDO) and was taken by the people and their work. [vimeo http://vimeo.com/48191647]

This organization in a non-profit celebrating the country's beautiful traditional handicrafts, providing training to underprivileged women in order to help them learn to become self-reliant.  They learn how to perfect their crafts and key business skills that will help them sell their products and thus better their quality of life.  Ashley fell in love with this group and decided to set-up her own business to help and spread the word.  Bringing products made by the women of WSDO, Hand Woven...With Love From Nepal carries these handmade goods for a wider audience.

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From totes to make-up bags, wine carriers to passport bags, Ashley has a wonderful collection of goods at very reasonable prices that help make a difference as much as satisfy some retail therapy.  She has been kind enough to offer Thrill of the Chaise readers to win a large tote bag and matching make-up bag!  They are durable, fair trade and really stunning works of art with a lot of heart.

For your chance to win, 'like' Hand Woven...With Love From Nepal on Facebook here and leave a comment below with your name and contact information.  A winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, May 13th!  Explore the entire collection here...some perfect Mother's Day gifts there, if you ask me...

(All images c/o Hand Woven...With Love From Nepal)

Petal Power.

Sony is smart.  Sony is REAL smart.  Or at least their advertising agency is real smart.  To represent the number of pixels in the display of their new TV, Sony released 8 million stunning colored petals into the Costa Rican landscape for what is not only one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen...but also one of the most intensely creative. 2 3 4 5 6 petalscostarica1

Not to mention the fact that watching it gives me some intense sense of calm and pure joy.  Freaking brilliant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2DdtkDK7w0

(Story c/o HonestlyWTF)

Oh, Ok. You're The Coolest.

Dream big.  That's what 'Visit California' asked skateboarder Bob Burnquist to do...which is not only inspirational generally but also makes me super curious as to who the genius is behind the Visit California campaign.

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Knowing that he had skated on basically every surface possible, Bob B  and his team went balls to the wall to create something so brilliantly cool, and actually quite beautiful, that I am reasonably jealous of their imaginations.  Skating on water.  Game f**king on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmHDfTBXEE0

(Video and photo c/o Visit California)

Devil In The Couture Details.

As I am getting amped up for NYFW this weekend (where you should follow me backstage at the Ruffian show on Saturday morning on ALL the social medias), I would be amiss if I didn't mention the incredible Spring Couture shows we saw over the past few weeks.  Instead of talking about the looks themselves, I wanted to pick out some of my favorite details from the shows...because isn't that REALLY what couture is all about?  (It is, don't argue me.) First up in trusty ol' Chanel who nailed pastels as per usual.  Leave it to Lord Lagerfeld to sneak in something a bit youthful and also questionable in the form of sneakers.  But screw it, I would wear these kicks in a heartbeat.  And if Karl told me to wear them with a tulle skirt, I would be all 'anything you say, you're magic'.

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Raf Simons...you Dior designing gentleman who I wish I was my friend...you are able to use texture like it ain't nothin' and then it becomes EVERYTHING.  It was slightly reminiscent of everyone's favorite merry-go-round centered Vuitton show but stood completely on its own.  The use of artwork and the balance of pastel and deep navy is basically what I wish my wardrobe and life looked like.

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Giambattista Valli kinda killed it when it came to the embroidery and embellishment game.  The color palette was baller.  The accessories were equally as baller.  And dammit I wish I had the money/excuses to wear all of this.

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Schiaparelli came flying in like the slightly more refined but still just as batty sister of Vivienne Westwood.  And it's impossible to not love that.

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And everyone's favorite Valentino went fashion balls out with fabrications.  That lace, those feathers, the embroidery and, oh look, adorable lion prints!  Gothic ballerina on safari.  Well, that's a dream I never thought I would have and now can't stop thinking about...

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(All images c/o Style.com)

Etsy Monday: Lenny Mud. And GIVEAWAY.

Well, hello, my little cabbages.  I know Etsy Monday has been missing for the past few weeks but we are back in FULL force!

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Now, if you don't know me too well, you may not know that I lived in London for almost 8 years.  While in London, along with a bit of practice, I learned to love a good cup of tea.  Admittedly, I have not yet mastered the art of brewing and properly making a cup that won't get me laughed at by my English peers but baby steps.  You may also not know that I have the best/worst taste in music ever.  And don't you start judging me.  I just admit to liking the things some people rock out to in secret.  Long story short, when I decided to move back to the States to go to school, my dear friend Beaver (yes) sent me a school supply package which included a nice supply of pencils and a mug to help with the brews I would be making for late night study sessions.  BUT it wasn't just ANY mug.  It was LIONEL RICHIE.  From Lenny Mud.  So...love affair commence.

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What's better to enjoy a lovely cup of tea with than a badass mug?  Exactly.  Lenny is the artist's studio cat...who is apparently as good at breaking ceramics as the artist is at making them.  I love this sense of humor.  It's obvious, it doesn't apologize for itself and it can't help but make you grin.

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Did you say GIVEAWAY?!  Heck yes.  One very lucky Thrill of the Chaise reader will win a Lenny Mud mug of their choice! To enter, simply click here.  The giveaway starts today and runs until the end of the day on July 17th.  Open to U.S. residents only.

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(All images c/o Lenny Mud)

Insta-Wedding-Gram.

Oh heyyyyyy!  Well, I am back and have very nearly recovered from one of the most memorable weekends (extended weekend...4 day extravaganza...whatever you like) of my life.  First of all, I'm in love with Vermont.  I wasn't so much in love with the 6.5 hours it took me to get there but if that is the route you take to pure gorgeousness and the nicest people in the world, game on.  Things did start getting very confusing when I realized I was so far north that I was picking up French-Canadian radio stations...  

If this is the view from the parking lot of The Round Barn, you can only imagine what the rest of the place looked like...and I apologize I didn't think to actually get more shots of that.

From the first night fireside hang out to the rehearsal dinner at the lovely Pitcher Inn to the big day itself at The Round Barn, everything was thoughtful, fun and full of love.  I won't get all mushy about all the very special moments had over the weekend but I did want to share it all through my eyes (or phone, rather).

Welcome Bag in my room upon arrival, complete with beer, cheese, crackers and maple candies that are sure to send you on a 4-day sugar high.

'Guard dog' at The Round Barn who was very old and happy to get some of my attention...but also inexplicably soaking wet.

Page in a book about love that were in each of our rooms.  Also, story of my life.

Gifts for the Maids.

And an extra special gift for little miss Maid of Honor (moi).  A necklace by *** of dyed, vintage lace.

I slept with the bride the night before the wedding while the groom took my room.  And we were treated to coffee in bed by the very thoughtful mothers.

Best buddies getting ready (in the adorable robes the bride gifted to all of us).

Our bouquets of my favorite flowers, peonies.

The bride and all her maids.

My favorite dress in my closet now.

Progressively getting dressed...

At the reception (come on, would have been totally inappropriate for me to be Instagramming while at the ceremony...right?)

Beautiful Bride.

Bourbon Bacon Caramel Popcorn for afters.

Now after these images were all taken, we did an awful lot of dancing and drinking and then some more drinking at the 'after party'.  At said after party, I was approached by the groom and bride's brother to participate in something called a 'shot ski'.  Which sounded much more adorable before an actual ski with shot glasses attached to it was put in my face.  Needless to say, I smelled of whisky for 2 days straight and was woken up the morning after the wedding by the groom delivering two Advil to my face.  So no.  You don't get to see any of the pictures I attempted to capture there.  Nor the video in the van ride home that I took because I thought everyone was singing 'We Will Rock You' (they weren't, the radio was).  And I will tell you that, yes, eating wedding cake with my hands in the living room of the inn when we got back was equal parts totally awesome and totally gross.  All in all, a success.  Oh, and this happened at one point:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z851ZDGhMI]

A huge congrats to Allie and John!  Eat all the pasta Italy has to offer in my honor.  Many thanks.

c/o Hendrickson Photography

Etsy Monday: Cocosheaven. And GIVEAWAY.

As I'm writing this, it's pouring rain outside and everything seems a bit glum.  But then I visit the Etsy shop Cocosheaven, the feature of today's Etsy Monday post, and I immediately feel warm and sunshine-y.  What JK, the designer of Cocosheaven, seems to understand inherently is the beauty of simplicity.  The number of times I have approached some kind of fashion item I loved from a distance to say 'augh, why did they have to put all this stuff on it?!' outweighs the number I have not.  By 'stuff', I mean gems, tassles, logos, buckles, pockets, so on and so forth.  Sometimes you just don't want all the bells and whistles.  Phew, tangent over. 1

Canvas Weekender Bag

I'm saying I love what JK and Cocosheaven are bringing into the world.  And the goal is simplicity...simplicity to make sure the beauty of the product itself remains intact.  Simple doesn't mean a lack of uniqueness, though.  Which is the amazing thing about the work that JK does.  In it's delicate and clean nature, the totes and leather work are somehow unexpected and totally stand out.

Blue Ombre Tote Bag

Pink Ombre Pillow

Aqua Ombre Pillow

Selection of Ombre Totes

Generally, I try to choose my favorite items from featured Etsy shops to give a taste of their style but also edit a bit to showcase my own tastes.  But the truth is, I can't pick favorites at Cocosheaven because they are all my favorites.  The leather luggage tags are personal, an amazing gift for a traveler (wink wink) and make being practical super fashionable.  The ombre tote bags are GORGEOUS and I want one in every color.  Those are the kinds of bags that are so universal when it comes to form, function and fashion.  Not to mention, what a fab conversation starter...because I assure you, it will grab attention when you're out and about with it.  And whaaaaaaat?!  Ombre pillow covers?!  For someone who is looking at apartments right now and dreaming about decorating, these pillows are just perfect.  They make a beautiful statement but don't steal the show.  Gimme.

XL Orange Ombre Tote Bag

ARE YOU READY FOR THIS GIVEAWAY?!  One very lucky Thrill of the Chaise reader will win this XL Orange Ombre Canvas Tote with beautiful leather straps, which was featured on the Etsy homepage!  Oh heck yes.  To enter, all you have to do is click here before the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday, June 19th and follow a couple very easy steps.  The contest is open internationally and you have to agree to let me borrow the bag sometimes (I'm kidding...about the sharing bit, the rest is true).

(All images c/o Cocosheaven)

Warby Parker Rocks Down To Ocean Avenue.

Sometimes, I wear glasses.  I love to wear my glasses.  Or more specifically, I love to wear my Warby Parker glasses.  My journey to find an amazing pair of glasses spanned years.  In fourth grade, I cheated on my eye exam because both glasses and braces were cool and I couldn't fake crooked teeth.  So I ended up with glasses and then ended up with horrible vision because I didn't actually need said glasses.  Feel free to tell that story to your kids.  Don't cheat on eye exams...you're probably going to need glasses at some point anyway.  After never really being in love with any of my spectacles, two years ago, I was introduced to Warby Parker (you can read about it here) and my relationship with glasses totally changed.  Warby taught me how to not just enjoy wearing my glasses but to actually have some fun with them. (Photo credit: Nate Poekert)

In the last few months, I've been wanting to expand my ability to have fun with my eyewear...and with the summertime having properly arrived, what better way to do that than with some color?!  (Not to mention, I really want a pair or five of some of Warby's super cool sunglasses.)  And as Warby Parker always seems to inherently do, the team there read my mind and have just launched their Ocean Avenue Collection to celebrate not just the warmer months but the nostalgic and retro-driven joy of summertime down by the boardwalk.  More specifically, the legendary Coney Island.

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Drawing inspiration from 1979 cult film The Warriors, a thriller that follows around rival gangs from across NYC on their way to Coney Island during one long, summer night, the collection is about fun and mischief.  With 8 optical frames and 14 sunglasses to choose from, it's the new colors that are the true stars of this show.  Sea Glass Blue.  Chocolate Soda.  Driftwood.  Orange Fizz.  Cream Soda.  Ginger Lemonade.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz-TzeIz-qs]

The Ocean Avenue Collection makes me want to take a trip down to Coney Island.  Grab a hot dog and an ice cream, sit on the boardwalk and re-live the days of having summers off to get up to trouble.  Warby Parker does an incredible job in this collection of giving us a modern take on days gone by.  The retro styles in updated colors give just enough away about the person wearing them that makes you want to know more.  And for those of us who want to wear them, kudos on making it almost impossible to choose, Warby!

Preston in Pearled Tortoise

Preston in Sea Glass Blue

My favorite styles have to be the Preston (Sea Glass Blue vs. Pearled Tortoise) and Beckett (Newsprint Grey vs. Driftwood) for optical frames, and Winston (in Cream Soda), Jules (in Marbled Charcoal) and Jasper (in Orange Fizz).  Not the narrowest of lists but hey ho, I do what I can.  Question is, which would YOU like to rock this summer?!

Beckett in Driftwood.

Beckett in Newsprint Grey.

Winston in Cream Soda.

Jules in Marbled Charcoal.

Jasper in Orange Fizz.

Check out all of the Ocean Avenue Collection by Warby Parker here.  And let me know when you want to hit the boardwalk.  I'm ready.

(All images c/o Warby Parker)

Rockin' Resort 2014.

Resort collections are a strange breed.  They always seem to come out of nowhere just as I feel like I've fully recovered from Fashion Week and then leave me in a different kind of retail therapy desperation.  Not only do I want the clothes and want them NOW, I also feel the overwhelming need to go on a holiday.  For someone who, yes, has just been to Mexico and spent three weeks in London, I still feel like I need a holiday.  Mexico was more of a family reunion with margaritas and London wasn't exactly tropical.  I want to put my feet in the sand, sip on a cocktail and watch the world go by.  In fabulous clothes.  So I wanted to share some of my favorite looks from the Resort 2014 collections.  In related news, I will be turning 30 one month from today and have yet to make any plans.  But a well-dressed, last-minute trip somewhere doesn't seem like the worst idea ever.  Who's in?

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Chanel is always a funny one for me.  I'd love a bit more Chanel in my life.  Or rather, I'd like any Chanel in my life.  But the Chanel Resort collections are always a slow starter for me.  There were some real nods back to the traditional Coco Chanel looks but completed with some real punk elements.  Karl always has a vision...it just takes some of us a bit longer to properly see it.  Curse us little minions and our unimaginative brains.  (Speaking of Chanel, have you entered to win a beautiful Chanel print or any other of your choice in our latest giveaway?!  Enter here.)

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The new and improved Christian Dior uses color in some pretty incredible ways.  The fabrications and silhouettes alone make me excited to be a girl.  And for someone who has to go into any shopping trip specifically saying to myself 'do NOT buy another article of black clothing', this collection makes me want to make everything BUT black.  Throw one of those navy blue jackets my way, will ya, Raf?

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I've always been a bit terrified of Cavalli.  All his collections always just seem like a poor man's tacky Versace.  So with this resort collection, it was really nice to see a softer side to Just Cavalli.  Leopard print did sneak in there but even that seems more delicate than usual.  Anyway, it's cool.  Real cool.

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Moschino Cheap & Chic is always endlessly adorable.  And this collection is no exception.  Bows and lace are always present.  But this time, there seems to be a throwback to my adolescence when daisies and tie-dye were having a real comeback.  Well keep coming back.  I'm loving it.  (Done the right way, of course.)

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Oscar de la Renta.  I don't even know what to say.  This man never fails to dazzle.  I love you.  I have always loved you.  I will always love you.  Marry me.

(All images c/o Style.com)

Sweet Shades. Another Bourbon & Boots Delight.

One of my favorite online destinations EVER is Bourbon & Boots.  I could (and sometimes do) spend hours browsing their website, wishing I could buy everything, wanting to eat everything and wondering how a group of people could be so impossibly cool.  And I suppose the answer for that could very likely be that it's because they are Southerners (and 'one Yankee', REPRESENT!)  I first discovered the magic that is Bourbon & Boots when I found this insanely cool Johnny Cash necklace.

Johnny Cash

Bourbon & Boots is an awesome digital retail curation of Southern-inspired and created goods.  Want to up your fashion game with a bow tie or some badass piece of handmade jewelry?  They got it.  Looking to make your house a home with some fly wall art?  No problem.  Need some Louisiana crawfish delivered to your door for a party?  Seriously...they make it happen.  They even have editorial content that teaches you everything from the how to pick a Kentucky Derby winner to bands to see at SXSW to adventures in hand-cranked ice cream and infused vodka (not together but I'd be willing to give that a try).

B&B Shades

So when I saw a pair of ombré wood framed Lolita sunglasses from these curators of cool, I freaked out.  FREAKED.  OUT.  And with their Southern charm and inherent thoughtfulness, the Bourbon & Boots team sent me a pair to take on my travels to Mexico where I couldn't wait to get some generally few and far between snaps of lil' old me wearing these bad boys.  Now, if you know me (and my almost vampire-inspired skin), you will know that for all my efforts, the sun and I do not always see eye to eye.  And thus, I sunburned my face and chest within 24 hours of arriving and became a slightly less desirable tableau for my new favorite sunglasses.  I mean, I wore them all over and attracted attention because, who cares, I'm on vacation.  But when wanting to show you all how freaking awesome these shades were, my red face wasn't gonna cut the mustard.  So here are some glamour shots I took of these fun, comfortable and super cool sunglasses.

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If you're of the slightly more understated variety, Bourbon & Boots also has a Wayfarer version.  Honestly, I can't say enough about how much I love this product.  They look cool...I mean, ombré wood?  Come on.  They are so comfortable.  And they have fantastic lenses which may sound slightly geeky but when you get a pair of good ones, it makes a world of difference.  Not to mention every pair is handmade by one of the two folks that makes up Tumbleweed Handicrafts in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Check out the sunglasses here and make sure to visit the Bourbon & Boots site.  (In related news, the above cactus taught me just how stupid it is to go near a cactus.)

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(Images c/o Bourbon & Boots and moi.  Special thanks to Bourbon & Boots for hooking me up with such a lovely gift...but just a note, all opinions are my own.)

Flip Fashion. A Personal Lookbook.

Spending three weeks in London in some pretty gorgeous weather, I tried to make sure that I had a little bit of time to just wander and get a bit lost.  Hampstead is one of my favorite places in London to go walkabout.  It's quiet but you can find the bustle of the village if you'd like.  There are shops to browse, historic homes to tour, and the Heath is like Central Park on steroids.  I adore it.  After a somewhat disappointing visit to Keats' House (beautiful gardens, boring museum), I thought taking a stroll by some shops might remedy the let-down.  And that it did.

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Walking by one of the bookshops in the village that always seems to have adorable books in the windows, I was very excited to see that on this visit, they did not disappoint.  Flip Fashion immediately jumped out at me so I popped in to take a close-up look and ended up spending way too much time playing with this lovely little book.  Split into four different 'flippable' parts, you can choose parts of different styles, from jazz age to punk, to mix and match the most perfect or most ridiculous looks.  Whatever takes your fancy!

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This beautifully illustrated and carefully researched book, designed by French (London-based) graphic designer Lucille Clerc, would make the perfect gift for a little girl fascinated with fashion to your favorite fashionista friend.  Pick up a copy of the book here.

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(All images c/o Amazon)

A Beautiful Day.

Things have been all quiet on the Thrill of the Chaise front for a few days and I wanted to catch you up on the reason for the radio silence.  If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have caught on that I flew across the ocean this past week to celebrate the union of two of my favorite people in the world. 3

I wrote about Stu & John for the first time almost two years ago (goodness me!) when I helped John in planning a two-week proposal extravaganza, where he surprised Stu with a 'birthday trip' to NYC.  And it was a birthday trip to NYC but it was also a big plan to propose and also visit my family and I in Connecticut for a week to further help them celebrate.  It was quite the whirlwind and you can read the entire, lovely story here.  I wrote about Stu & John for the second time when I used their lovely story as the subject of a school project.  You can see the video I made, complete with my attempts at being at artist, here.

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This past week, my parents and I flew to England for their wedding...which could not have been more perfect.  The ceremony was heartfelt and personal.  The details, including Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote encouraging us all to type the boys a note on her ancient typewriter, a candy bar to celebrate where the boys met (a club called The Candy Bar), and cake toppers complete with their two adorable Labrador's, were constant delights throughout the day.  Our Alice in Wonderland themed English tea was just about as precious as it got.  And it really is no surprise that we all danced into the wee hours of the morning.  So I wanted to share some of my favorite shots from the day.

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Wishing Stu & John a huge congrats on their union, a lifetime of love and happiness, and a freaking incredible two weeks in Thailand!

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Give Us A Hand.

Though the point of this post was never to be sombre or find a deeper meaning in this little treasure that I wanted to share, it struck me that there is a place for it, even a need for it.  But when I heard someone last night say 'you're great Boston and have many greater days ahead' and then my Dad saying 'Boston doesn't need the White House, they are gonna look after themselves', it suddenly seemed necessary to make this link.  As someone who experienced 9/11 in my first couple of weeks away at college and as a member of the Newtown community, the kind of horrific event that happened yesterday strikes a very personal chord in me.  But Boston is nothing if not an incredible community of hard workers, big givers and huge hearts.  So as they all extend a hand to each other while they just begin to cope with this tragedy, let's all try to remember the give a hand when we are able too. IMG_9637

But what this was really to celebrate was one of my favorite hidden details in the gorgeous San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  The first time I went to visit this magical town, I remember saying that it wasn't a pretty place but it was a beautiful one.  Which may be a bit awkward a statement but it's the beautiful little details preserved in a crumbling building or the peek of artistry beyond the dusty air.  San Miguel is not some kind of run down city, it's incredibly preserved and precious about its historical features.  However, it is a different kind of beauty...a less traditional version, in our eyes at least.

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The doors of San Miguel can open onto a hidden paradise.  Books have been published about the gateways of this special place...some imposing, some almost unnoticeable, but all with their own special details, colors and meaning.  So what is it that I love about these doors?  Aside from the fact that you never know what kind of treasure you'll find behind any given one?  The hands that ask to enter.  One of the most incredible details of this town are the ever-present door knockers in the delicate shape of hands.  Unless you are paying very close attention, you might not notice this detail on every other home...but you'll become infatuated when you do.  It becomes a little game to find them through your day, to study the differences of each one and to think about how kind it seems to have a friendly hand knocking at your door.

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(Photos by Kanoe Wentworth and moi)

Motels Scare Me.

If you ask my parents what kind of kid I was, they would hopefully give you the standard answer about how lovely and enjoyable I was, obviously too cute for words.  But they would probably add in some kind of comment on my also having some 'quirks'.  One of which was my intense fear of motels.  I'd like to say that this was because I was so fancy that I couldn't possibly comprehend the idea of a discount hotel.  But the truth is, we have no idea where this came from.  But I had my reasons and they were deep-rooted.  I would make my parents always check any hotel room for bad people or monsters...and also check under the bed because I was convinced that I would someday be the one to find a body hidden under there.  Yeah...weird.  (We once checked into a very nice hotel in Florida and the last guest had obviously put their fist through the bathroom door.  It set my development in this issue back by years.)

Motel Sign

Now that I have over-shared about my odd childhood behavior, there is actually a reason for this story beyond some kind of personal therapy.  Tablet Hotels Magazine recently posted a fantastic article on eleven revamped motels across America and my reaction to reading the title was less than optimistic.  But by the time I finished reading, it actually had me really excited about this trend of taking old motels and making them into fantastic places to stay.  In fact, let's start a revolution.

The Pearl, San Diego

The Roxbury, Upstate New York

Belmont Hotel, Dallas

Hotel San Jose, Austin

Jupiter Hotel, Portland

Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Palm Springs

Hope Springs Resort, California

The Farmer's Daughter, Los Angeles

The Modern Hotel, Boise

Hotel Valley Ho, Arizona

The Standard Hollywood, Los Angeles

You can read the entire article here.  And make sure to subscribe to Tablet for great hotel deals across the world!  (And no, they aren't paying me to say that.  Sigh.)  So, where we going first?!

(All images c/o Tablet.  Except for Pink Cloud...that bad boy is c/o Pinterest)

Hello, Spring. Fancy A Parade?

A few weeks ago, we celebrated the official start of Spring.  It hasn't been until the last couple of days that we have really started to feel it, though.  As if overnight, suddenly the air has warmed up, the flowers are peeking out from the ground and the birdsongs have been delightfully relentless.  We have also been treated to a couple of thunderstorms which, by the way, I adore.

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I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for the first day of Spring and if there is one thing this town is good at, it is making a celebration out of everything and anything.  So get ready for cute overload.  All the kids in town dress-up with all their classmates as signs of Spring (you'll see) and host a parade around the center of town.  I mean, come on.  (Tree dude below was seriously struggling to walk which double his cute factor, btw.)

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Icing on the cake? All these adorable little munchkins hold hands with each other.  Aughhhhhhh.  CUUUUUUTE.  For all the little ones who aren't old enough to participate in the parade itself, parents dress them up in their own little costumes (which involve some pretty serious onesies) to watch the parade they are all looking forward to actually being in one day.

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Happy Spring, everyone!

(All photos by Kanoe Wentworth)

The Paris Factor. Or How Carven Stole My Heart.

The answer is, yes, I do have a 2 foot-tall wire Eiffel Tower in my bedroom.  Paris is the first place I ever went to visit outside of the United States and I have been charmed ever since.  Don't judge me when I say I have actually lost count of the number of times I have been to the City of Lights/Love/Wine & Cheese.  (It helps that I lived in London for 7 years and could literally get on a train and be there in 2 hours.)  Generally, despite previous admission of Eiffel Tower replica, I like to make sure my adoration of Paris is slightly more understated.  If you're going to be obsessed with something, try to stay classy.  That's my rule of thumb.

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So when I came across Carven's somewhat recent collection featuring, what I would deem, understated maps of Paris, I fell immediately in love.  I have spent a potentially excessive amount of time in the last 24 hours staring at items from this collection trying to justify the expenditure on an item from the collection (going between the dress and the wedges).  I can't justify them right now, but you can bet your bottom dollar I have set-up a sale alert on these bad boys.

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What would you choose?  Has this collection won your heart, fellow Francophiles?

Check out the entire collection on Net-A-Porter here.

(All images c/o Pinterest)

Insta(Mexico)Gram.

As I get settled back in from my Mexican voyage, I wanted to give you a little Instagram recap of my time there.  Make sure to follow me on Instagram (@thrillofthechaise) and keep an eye out for some pretty cool posts over the next few weeks!  It is going to take me a few days to readjust to the weather here in Connecticut, as well as the margarita withdrawal.  Don't judge me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Chiles En Nogada: My New Culinary Best Friend.

I've been a little lazy about writing the past few days but I like to think it's ok since the time I would usually spend writing, I am spending exploring, enjoying and relaxing.  ('Relax' is not generally a word in my vocabulary, though not for my want of trying.)  Anyway, point is, I'm not avoiding you.  So calm down. When I first arrived in San Miguel last year about this time, I didn't know what I was in for.  This city reveals itself to you slowly and it made no exception for me.  But all it takes, really, is a good drink and a great meal and I'll get on board with anything.  Seriously.  Write that down.  Needless to say, both were delivered on my first night in the form of a margarita and Chiles en Nogada.  And I was more than happy to repeat that moment in my life the other night, in the same restaurant, at the same table, with the same amount of excitement.

This dish celebrates the colors of the Mexican flag, the bold flavors of the country and is all around awesome.  Roasted poblano chiles are stuffed with ground pork and/or beef, cinnamon, garlic, onion, raisins and so forth.  They are then covered in an amazing creamy walnut sauce and finished with beautiful and crunchy pomegranate seeds.  WHAT?!  Yeah.  Badass.  I'll be sure to try it on my own when I get back home to the States but I will always get excited about a visit to El Pegaso on my visits here for what I now deem one of my favorite all-time meals.

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Chiles en Nogada (Recipe taken and modified from Our Life In Food)

For the chiles

4 poblano chiles

1/2 lb. ground pork an/or beef

1/4 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 Roma tomato, cored and chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1/4 cup golden raisins

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the walnut sauce

1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup milk

For serving

Pomegranate seeds

Chopped walnuts

Fresh chopped cilantro (if you like that sort of thing...which I don't...at all...but I promise not to stand in your way)

1. Roast the chiles under the broiler until blackened. Be careful. Be a good judge of this. And yeah, s**t is already getting real. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let these bad boys steam for about 20 minutes.

2. While that magic happens, add your ground meat to a saute pan and cook until it is cooked through and just starting to brown.  Add the onions and cook until they have softened.  Stir in garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and allspice. (You're doing great.) Add the tomato, apple and raisins.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. To make the sauce (I hope you're reading this ahead of time), place walnuts in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat, allow them to cool and then rub them to try to remove as much of their skin as possible.  Place the walnuts in a food processor with all the other mentioned sauce ingredients above and mix it all up until smooth.

4. Peel the skin from the chiles. Cut a lengthwise slit in each and remove the seeds.  Stuff each chile with the meat mixture.  Top the stuffed chiles with sauce, garnish with whatever you like from the list and serve!

Stay tuned for lots more from my visit to Mexico...but in the meantime, I'm off to SHOP.  Psssst, if you want to keep up with all my goings on, follow me over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@thrillofthechaise)!

Hola. Here Ends My Knowledge of the Spanish Language.

I left the house at 3am yesterday.  I went through two time zones, got a little bit fussy on two very turbulent plane rides, had an awkward stare-down with a guy throwing back Bloody Mary's and chocolate chip cookies at 10am at Dallas airport, passed a pilgrimage or two on a long drive and BOOM, a mere 16 or so hours from our starting point, we arrived in the oasis that is San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. P1000633

While I settle in a bit today, unpack, get my bearings and relax just enough that I am energized again, I wanted to share some of my posts from my visit here last year...

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I bought some beautiful, handmade jewelry and had the pleasure of visiting the artist's studio to see not just her own work, but the work of her husband and her budding artist children here.

Forget Halloween.  If you want to see some adorable little ones dressed up in brilliant costumes, enjoy the parade on the first day of Spring here.  It's fast approaching!

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I like Mexican cuisine.  I like margaritas even more.  Here.

San Miguel is an artists' colony and has been for basically ever.  If you want to see all that's beautiful in the mix of culture, tradition, colors and skill, check out this post on artisan work in this creative little town.

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Or just get a little intro here.  Off to explore now! xx