A Week

Clivia.slimpaley.comPale yellow Clivia from my garden.

I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed their Easter Weekend!

Clivia slimpaley.com

It was beautiful here in Santa Barbara.

roses slimpaley.com

I spent some time in my garden. Despite the lack of rain here, necessitating a serious cut back on water usage, it’s been a stellar Spring for our roses.

roses slimpaley.com

 Much better than last season, when my babies had to suffer through the vestiges of a ‘bad haircut’ earlier in the year. We all know what that feels like.

 The good news is my friend Dani Hahn, from “Rose Story Farm” assures me that roses don’t need much water to thrive. I plan on doing an entire week of rose posts soon, so I’ll leave the rose talk at that for now.

Hiking Santa Barbara slimpaley.com I also took a couple of beautiful hikes this week, including one to the top of the mountains above Montecito with a good friend who was celebrating her birthday. Nothing like reaching the peak after a hard climb to appreciate and commemorate  the passing of another year.  The stone heart stays the same but the messages change. This week we found one worth sharing.

hiking Santa Barbara slimpaley.com

The mist cleared when we reached the summit and the views were just gorgeous.

So Game of Thrones. (OK, I still haven’t watched it yet!)

Wild Flowers slimpaley.comThe wild flowers were sprouting and the hills were surprisingly green.

Why don’t I hike every week?!

~

On a sadder note,

Gabriel Garcia MarquezWe lost a great literary legend with the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez on Thursday.

I remember so very clearly the first time I read “Love in the Time of Cholera”. It was as if I’d had the air knocked out of me. This love story, this incredible love story-it seeped into every fibre of my being. I was not even on this planet from the very first page to the last. It’s one of the few books I’ve read more than once.

Love in the Time of Cholera slimpaley.com

and I’m rereading it again this week.

Sorry “Middlemarch” but I’m kicking you to the curb for a few days. I’m quite sure George Eliot would understand.

~

and lastly, back on a lighter note;

black & yellow slimpaley.com

One of my friends was rocking Black & Yellow the day after my post on the same, so I just simply had to share this.

Ines de La Fressange or what?!

Bryan Ferry slimpaley.com

 Oh, just one more thing…

While we are on the subject of favourites? This happened last night! Bryan Ferry came to our little Santa Barbara Bowl and he was simply wonderful. The man is pure elegance in a top coat. Yes, a top coat.

That’s my kind of rock star <3

xx SP

~

This time last year 

 

 

The Blood Moon

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Wait!

Don’t go to bed yet-please read this quick post first!

I was hoping to get it up earlier, but you know how that goes.

Hopefully you peeps on the East Coast haven’t called it a night yet…

Here’s the deal; set your alarm for 3:oo am (EST) this morning if you’d like to witness the “Blood Moon” that’s going to occur.

They say North America will have a front row seat so time your alarms accordingly.

“The phenomenon in which the moon is completely covered by the earth’s umbral shadow for four eclipses in a row, as opposed to only partial eclipses that fall in the outer penumbra. But rather than succumbing to complete darkness, the moon will glow red as it receives the refracted light that spills over the Earth’s circumference.” (NBC news)

I do believe I witnessed a “Blood Moon” a couple of years ago in Sun Valley, where one can view celestial  shenanigans like nobody’s business. The night skies of Idaho are a stargazer’s dream.

 Actually, Santa Barbara is not too shabby in that department either, especially here in Montecito where there are no street lights and night landscape lighting is frowned upon. :-(

Video explaining the “Blood Moon”

(or a “Tetrad” as those of us in the ‘lunar know’ , er, know)

red moon , slimpaley.com

This is the one I saw in Sun Valley. Not a great shot as I took it with my very old iPhone but you get the idea. It was so cool! I kept trying to get everyone to come out and look at it, but no one was biting. I think there was a good movie on or perhaps a heated ping-pong game.

Plus I had to run back in before I got eaten by a bear.

blood orange  slimpaley.com

Speaking of eating…(how’s that for a segue?) it’s also Blood Orange Season.

blood orange tree , slimpaley.com

Our trees are producing abundantly this year so we’ve been getting pretty creative with these babies.

blood oranges slimpaley.com

Fresh Blood Orange juice by itself, though gorgeous to look at, is much too tart for my liking.

It’s better mixed with regular orange juice or another fruit juice that will give it some natural sweetness. Or vodka.

Or gin.

Tequila in a pinch.

blood orange water  slimpaley.com

I’ve also been squeezing the juice of just one or two blood oranges into my carafe of water every day. It makes me feel like I’m at a spa. I add a splash of Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic Water-it’s delicious and makes the water swirl like antique glass.

blood oranges slimpaley.com

 

dried blood orange slices slimpaley.com

 I think I mentioned slicing and drying the blood oranges in the dehydrater relatively recently…or was that on Instagram? Do you follow me on Instagram?? It’s fun!

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They’re quite good and no doubt super good for you, but now we’ve discovered that they’re even waaaay better with the rinds cut off. Just little sweet & sour explosions of chewy flavour.

dried blood oranges, slimpaley.com

Eat your heart out Dale Chihuly!!

Chihuly-10 Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly

dried sliced blood orange slimpaley.com

 Don’t look at my manicure

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Tomorrow night we are trying this recipe- I’ll let you know!

And this link will take you to many other fun ideas;

blood orange recipes

Bubbly Ginger Blood Orange Smoothie (recipe below)

20 Brightly Hued Ways to Eat Blood Oranges

blood orange tree  slimpaley.com

Happy Lunar gazing

xxSP

Post Script; later on tonight…

Blood Moon April 2014

It was very cool indeed!

~

The Headless Horseman & The Billionaire

Kykuit, slimpaley.com

KYKUIT

Our timing was perfect.

In search of turning leaves (the spectacle is late this year in NYC) my older son and I decided to drive out and visit the Hudson Valley last weekend. (I’ve been in NY, just in case you were worried about me!)

But wait-not so fast…everything  sold out. :-(

Who’s giving up? pas moi.

With my boy having only one week day available, we managed to purchase tickets to tour famous Kykuit in Sleepy Hollow on Thursday morning.

Rain was forecast but said progeny was optimistically pessimistic about the weatherman’s ability to predict that far ahead.

Kykuit slimpaley.comThis was my Instagram photo of the moment we arrived, but in the space of a few minutes the mist lifted, the clouds dispersed and it turned out to be a stellar day.

So basically, my son is a genius.

Kykuit  slimpaley.comKykuit (Dutch for “Lookout”) is a stately stone home sitting high upon a picturesque knoll above the town of Sleepy Hollow.  After getting off to a very rough start, the house was finally completed in 1913.

Teaser; imagine taking almost 6 years and how much money(?) to build your dream home, finally moving in and having to move right back out due to so many design flaws. As I say, it’s always something…but that’s another story.

Kykuit was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family until Nelson R. bequeathed  his 1/3 share to The National Trust  for Historic Preservation upon his death in 1979.  The guide didn’t elaborate on who held the other shares.

Kykuit slimpaley.comIt was 1893, when John D. Rockefeller, encouraged by his brother William’s glowing reports of the Pocantico Hills, first bought the property. The family gradually acquired the surrounding land until they’d amassed almost 4,000 acres.

That’s on the Hudson people.

Did I mention money wasn’t an issue??

 Luckily for the public, the main house, gardens and carriage barn all opened for tours when the house transferred to the historic trust. The family still retains the rest of the property, keeping the huge “Children’s Playhouse” and other buildings dotted about the grounds for personal use. Happy Rockefeller, Nelson’s widow now in her 80′s, lives nearby.

Kykuit slimpaley.comImpressive, if not too surprising, the original landscaping plan was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (of Central Park fame) More surprising was that John D. was less than thrilled with Olmsted’s efforts and in addition to taking much of the garden design upon himself, commissioned William Welles Bosworth to finish the grounds more to his taste.

The truth is that I could go on endlessly about the history behind all these great estates; Kykuit, Oak Alley, Vizcaya, The Breakers et al.  Fascinating reading if you’ve the time and inclination, but what I truly love about taking historic tours are the behind-the-parlour-door rhythms, quirky little tid-bits and not so occasional scandals you take away from the homes and their ghostly inhabitants. Hence the popularity of “Downton Abbey”.

window detail, Kykuit, slimpaley.comHaving a really great tour guide is like getting your hair done by the best gossipy celebrity hair stylist. Buckle up and get ready to dish the dirt!

What was it really like to have been America’s very first billionaire?

Uh…helloo…is that linoleum??

Why was John D. Rockefeller so infamously ‘tight with a dime’?

( Legend has it John D. literally gave out rolls of nickels and dimes (an estimated 30-40,000  over his lifetime) plus a brief lecture on the rewards of working hard and saving money to poor people in the street in an attempt to dispel his less than ‘Generous’ reputation)

That being said, he and his heirs were exceptionally philanthropic, particularly when it came to the Arts, and Conservation. The amount of money, land, buildings and art bestowed upon the State of NY by the Rockefeller family could well be unmatched.

Kykuit slimpaley.comA side view of the house reveals that Kykuit is much larger than it appears from the front.

The Rockefellers were a much less ostentatious bunch than their neighbours the Vanderbilts.

Let’s just say I doubt the Kardashians would have made the guest list.

KykuitI found one small image of the interior of Kykuit, but unfortunately no photos are allowed to be taken in the house-and I bonded too much with the guide to sneak any iphone pics ( hate when that happens)

Vintage surrey, slimpaley.com“Surrey with the Fringe On Top”

The  2 1/2 hour tour does include the massive old carriage house and stables where you are allowed to use your camera.

vintage CadillacWhat was it like to drive around in 40 ft long  Cadillacs? Check the separate windscreen for the back seat!

Kykuit Gardens, slimpaley.comA tour of the lower levels of the house features a pretty major art collection including works by Picasso, Lautrec, Calder, Giacometti, and Chagall. I must admit this was my least favourite part of the tour. I was underwhelmed, not by the art but the space, which isn’t very appealing. I couldn’t wait to get out and back up into the natural light, the gardens and the views, which are spectacular.

Kykuit, Sleepy Hollow, Slimpaley.comThe 9 hole golf course within the the 250 acres of walled and gated property surrounding Kykuit is gradually being forsaken. It costs $100,000 per  year to maintain…per hole.

That’s what the guide said. Pinky swear.

KykuitThe view from the front entrance.

The ‘flames’ flanking the urns are electrified. All the mod cons for Johnny D.

Fall Leaves slimpaley.comand the leaves were starting to turn in Sleepy Hollow. Does this look like a great Halloween street, or what?!

Kykuit slimpaley.com

Sleepy Hollow Church, slimpaley.comThe Old Dutch Church

Old Dutch Church, Sleepy Hollow, slimpaley.comA three minute jaunt uphill from the Kykuit Tour meeting area and you’ll arrive at the Old Dutch Church. One of the oldest cemeteries in the country, it’s chock full of famous residents, including  Brooke Astor, Elizabeth Arden, Walter Chrysler, Andrew Carnegie, Washington Irving, and William Rockefeller. That’s some after-party.

The Dutch cemetery, Sleepy HollowThe legendary characters of  Washington Irving’s “Sleepy Hollow” are also buried here (including the ghost of the headless horseman who is said to ride nightly) We saw the tombstones of the Van Tassel family (Katrina from the story) amongst many other intriguing  headstones, ranging from Teeny-tiny to Wow-Now That’s Impressive. I imagine the guided walking tour here is quite lively. No pun intended.

cemetery angel , slimpaley.comNothing like a stroll through a cemetery on a beautiful day to remind you to seize The Moment.

~

Sleepy Hollow is aprox. a 4o minute drive from upper Manhattan.

Guided tours of the cemetery are held on Sunday afternoons from the last week of May through October.

The Kykuit tour is run by ‘Historic Hudson Valley’. Tickets are in high demand, especially at this time of year and should be bought in advance.  Trust me.

Kykuit.jpgFor more information click HERE

Don’t forget to roll your dimes, keep your head & sleep tight!

xx

~

The Turning

flowers from my garden, Slimpaley.com

It’s here.

 Autumn has officially arrived.

I will acknowledge its presence and no longer be cranky with those who wished the warm weather away.

I’ve perused the gross weight of all the September issues, witnessed Halloween & Thanksgiving decor in stores for myself and weakly bleet “UNCLE”

Ya got me.

As you may have noticed, I even changed my header photo. Now if I could only figure out how to nix the turquoise banner for a more autumnal shade I’d be good.

WordPress, please heed my cry for help!

Light on the dining room wall, Slim PaleyTruly, I knew It was almost here with the subtle shift of late afternoon light in my dining room. After living in this home for over 20 years we’re like old friends that finish each other’s sentences.

“Slim” (said the house) “Stop trying to act all ‘India Hicks’ with the giant palm fronds still on the table. It’s the end of September. Get over yourself”

Like I said, Very old friends.

white roses. slimpaley.com

And while I for one will still lament the all too soon passing of our summer, I’ll readily concede there are no other seasonal contenders when it comes to the beauty of Autumn light. I could basically just run around my house with a camera from 4pm to 6pm from now through November and be a very happy glamper.

Lost in Arles via Lost in Arles blog

Then there’s the whole “leaf changing thing”

Which I guess is okay if you go in for that sort of stuff…

Another big check in the plus column?

dolce-gabbana-rtw-fw2013-runway-60_112954382617Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2013

Hellooo Fall Fashion!

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Louis Vuitton Fall 2013

Louis Vuitton Fall 2013

Not to mention (always followed by a mention)

A bed & a book

that my flannel sheets will soon be making their eagerly awaited comeback.

Oh Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Truth be told, I could blissfully sleep in flannel all year round.

Of course I wouldn’t still be married, so there’s that…

49032504Photos via here

 I totally adore the colours of Fall

24401145How divine is this copper & rust mixed with palest cream & blush?

I’m So copying. With flowers and a make-up palette. Stay tuned.

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 7.41.40 AMphoto Sarah Maingot

Shorter days and cooler nights invite us back to long heavenly soaks in the bath.

Never a bad thing.

Fall. Slimpaley.comAnd Fall food is as comforting as all get out. Soup’s on? I’m there.

be81dd751d0fec8be52948e3190ed470Grilled onions with thyme & cream. Recipe here

Angels on Horseback

A version of “Angels on Horseback” with Medjool dates, water chestnuts & pineapple wrapped in bacon, marinated in soy sauce & pineapple juice then baked. Yum.

Howard Slatkin bar

Libationally (I say it’s a word) it’s fun to adapt your bar, like this one in Howard Slatnik’s home, to the cooler season’s more comforting requirements.

vintage books. Slimpaley.comAnd I must admit, Fall certainly does invite one to hunker down and enjoy more cozy reading time…

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So;

pretty light, gorgeous colours, long baths & flannel sheets. A good meal, a great read, cashmere & a comely cocktail…

I do believe I’ve just talked myself into being very happy that Autumn has arrived!

Check it! I could be on “Super Soul Sunday”

I have a motivational speaker lurking inside of me!

omg. That explains my inexplicable weight gain over the summer…

Phew. Just found the silver lining!

Slimpaley.com

Happy Falling Leaves To All

xxSP

~

Hanging Around

lakeside hammock, Muskoka, Ontario

 Perched on the edge of Lake Muskoka, Ontario,

A heavenly hammock swings between a pair of perfectly placed trees in the garden of our friend’s charming old cottage.

It just doesn’t get much better than this.

I’ll spare the Jim Croce song, but “If I could save time in a bottle…”

This would definitely be one of those times.

BTW, have you ever been to Lake Muskoka or the Lake Region of eastern Canada?

Lake Muskoka

This is how beautiful it is. For miles and miles and miles.  No filter, plain & simple.

Put it on your list.

But once again, I digress…

hammock on deck

I told you I was still putting up a hammock post.

September, Schmmeptember.

beach hammockI could possibly have saved this for my “Indigo” post-which, in my timely fashion, should debut just before Christmas.

Cause I know when one hears the word “Christmas” one instantly thinks Indigo!

porch seat hammock

But for real, who doesn’t adore the promise of a cozy hammock with all the dreamy, romantic emotions  they evoke?

A macramé cocoon twisting gently from the creaky ceiling of a sleeping porch, a mattress ticking pillow, Hudson Bay blanket thrown over the edge and a great book nestled within?

or perhaps it’s more

Robinson Crusoe meets Swiss Family Robinson with Johnny Depp lurking behind the nearest palm tree, whittling you a coconut vessel from which to sip your rum. Together.

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Hey, It’s all good, Matey :-)

At the other end of the spectrum…

hammock under the trees

This romantic vignette helped inspire my English Country Garden Tastemaker Tag Sale on “One King’s Lane” last week.

indoor hammock, tile floor

I also think it’s awfully fun to hang a hammock indoors, given the right setting, don’t you?

I’ve never done it, but never say never, though I think they’re especially great in a young person’s abode.

Lots of dash for little cash.

Besides,extricating one’s self from a hammock can take some manuoevering manuveouring effort.

black & white hammock photo

I love this photo, but I’m sure I’d have that basket weave deeply imprinted on my entire body for the rest of the day.

Ahh, once again, the ageing process…

it’s a beautiful thing.

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Fancy bathing in a hammock big enough for two? check out  Splinterworks.co.uk

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Here’s one sporting my favourite combo of black & white, plus a handy thick rug placed strategically underneath for a two-martini roll out.

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The pinnacle of Hammock Chic- the woven leather one by Hermes

I’ll take two, on either side of the fireplace thank you very much.

boat bed

And a most charming turn on a nautical hammock, a vintage boat brought indoors.

Don’t you just love creative people?!

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2013 A Space Hammock. For the ultimate threesome.

Info HERE

Hammock in Greece

Or the perfect old school hammock swinging gently above the olive groves of Greece.

Pass the feta please.

seaside hammock

Tropical, indoor, old school or space age

Let’s face it. Hammocks rock.

Bora Bora

At the Nui Nui in Bora Bora

Paging Fletcher Christian…

Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian

sigh.

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Here’s to sweet languorous dreams of a life lived slowly…

But only 9 more months ’til next summer!

Australia-you’re not even allowed to say a thing right now!

Happy September All

xoxSP

~

All uncredited photos from Tumblr or pinterest