WAIT!

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Vignette in Ralph Lauren, NYC by Slim Paley

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Hold on!

It simply can’t be Labour Day Weekend yet!

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To accompany your stroll

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Slim Paley photo

Poolside at The Coral Casino, Montecito, California.

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The weather in Santa Barbara is so GORGEOUS right now.

Hot.

Blue skies.

Nary a breeze.

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Eat your heart out down there in the S. of F. :)

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Fernanda Cameron for SIS magazine

Iriving & Fine top

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 I’ve hardly been to the beach

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There are still so many summer books to read (like, ALL of them :( )

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So many blue & white stripes yet to wear…

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Armani 2012

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Salvatore Ferragamo resort 2012

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Armani 2012

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photos to take…

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Footwear to consider…

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Accessories to splurge on

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Blue Rope Chairs from the “Melt Down” Series by Tom Price, U.K.  VIA

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Jean Paul Gaultier

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Slim Paley photo

and rooms to “phooff” up…

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Raoul Textiles

Slim Paley

The “Raoul Textiles” shop, Santa Barbara, CA

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Not to mention all the summer cocktails I was going to concoct…

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I’m just not READY.

I’m going to be like the party guest that won’t leave,

still banging on about summer & watermelons while every one else has moved on to pumpkins & cashmere

But isn’t that the beauty of writing my very own blog?

NO BOSS :)

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Cheers & Have a fabulous Holiday Weekend!

xoxo

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Morocco, Montecito and The Master

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Slim Paley Photo

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The short, but ever so sweet & sultry dose of  heat we enjoyed here in Santa Barbara a week or so ago has fired up my passion for exotic locales…

and searching for images of Carmen Miranda for the previous post only helped seal the deal!

 So,

I’ve secreted away all my cashmere, stored my winter coats, bid a hearty “a bientot” to heavy boots until September &

I’m celebrating the arrival of warmer weather by sharing a recent little Moroccan Soiree at “Le Souk Slim’s”

(What? You’ve never seen a white-washed shingled Souk before? Sheik, Baby- you need to get out more!)

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I’m even going to spoil you for choice by offering two different selections of music to accompany;

.‘Tu As Ma Vie’


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“Rock The Casbah”


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.The Amanjena hotel, an Aman Resort, Morocco

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We  could all just buy these and pretend we’re there :)

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Pottery Barn Lanterns 

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I never think of Morocco without thinking of Yves Saint Laurent and the beautiful, beloved home  he shared there with his long time partner Pierre Berge.

(and the amazing YSL silk caftan floor length coat I found in a vintage shop once that I bought even though it was ten times too big for me-

and you know when a caftan is too big- that’s big) oops- I digress…

St. Laurent’s ashes were scattered in Marrakech in the Majorelle Garden, a place he often visited to find inspiration and refuge.

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Now I can’t wait for the new documentary L’Amour Fou”  (Click here to watch the trailer- it looks fantastique!!)

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“…one day I will join you under the Moroccan palms…” Pierre Berge at St. Laurent’s funeral.


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via Decorative maps.com

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Meanwhile, back in Montecito,  I served this deeelicious old stand-by from Food & Wine Magazine,

accompanied by cous cous and miniature Caesar salads on endive spears (The Romans were friendly with North Africans weren’t they?!) 

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Slim Paley photo (taken from Food & Wine Magazine, August 2008)

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Amanjeni


Paging Paul Bowles for inspiration;

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Definitely a book to be reread

Paul Bowles spent over 55 years of his life in Morocco

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The Amanjeni

 “Bucket Tagine List”?

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....Slim Paley Photo

For the table, I chose my favourite Suzani, which is absolutely gigantic, and folded it in on itself a couple of times.

 All the flowers, lavender and mint are from my garden.

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Our  ridiculously orange roses I’ve renamed “Are Those Real??” popped just in time…

.Slim Paley Photo

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Le Recipe;.

As you can see, I add golden raisins and slivered toasted almonds to the couscous.

If you find your couscous a little on the dry side, you can add a cup or so of Lychee syrup- yum!

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.Slim Paley photo

Nuts, olives, honey with lavender, and lots of citrus and roses help to set the mood…oh ya, and fruity champagne drinks!

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Slim Paley Photo

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Slim Paley Photo

You’ll  probably recall this lavender pudding from just a few posts back  but don’t be a hater, it belonged here :)

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…and don’t forget sweet mint tea for dessert.

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Marrakesh/Marrakech… either way, I want to go!

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If your schedule doesn’t gel with a trip to North Africa, or even a Moroccan inspired evening soon, you may always grab a quick dose of Casbah here;

The Morocco based ; My Marrakesh

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OK, I better go tend to my Sheik now…


couscous!

xx

Six Husbands & One Very Green Thumb

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Lotus LandSlim Paley Photo

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Inspired by the beauty of “Rose Story Farm” in my previous post,  I’m going to share yet another  Santa Barbara Garden Treasure with you;

Nestled in the foothills of Montecito,  embraced within high plaster walls the colour of rare salmon, sits Lotusland, home to one of the most famous exotic gardens in the world.

This 37 acre property, although originally dating back to 1882, really found it’s most ardent custodian in 1941 when, at the urging of her last husband, it was purchased by the rather infamous Madame Ganna Walska.

Lotusland proved to be THE True Love of Madame Walska’s life. She would remain there for the next 43 years, passionately obsessed with creating the beautiful gardens we still enjoy there today.


Lotus LandSlim Paley Photo

Large shards of bottle glass set the winding paths through the tropical gardens aglow

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Madame basking in the glory of her gardens

Born in Poland in 1887, Ganna Walska’s early years were spent as an aspiring actress and opera singer.  Ironically, despite the scandalously lavish efforts of her fourth husband to fan the flames of her musical career, Madame Walska’s reputation on the stage never scaled the heights she would achieve in the gardening world.  Whatever poor notices she may have received on stage though, she certainly made up for romantically. Ganna would eventually chalk up 6 husbands, divorcing #6 in 1946 after less than 4 years.

The Cast of Husbands;

Russian baron Arcadie d’Eingorn, a Russian officer (divorced him for drunkenness 1915)
Dr Joseph Fraenkel, a famed New York endocrinologist, died 1920,
multimillionaire sportsman and carpet tycoon Alexander Smith Cochran, married 1920, divorced 1922
industrialist Harold Fowler McCormick, married in 1922, divorced 1931
English inventor of a death ray, Harry Grindell Matthews, died 1941
Theos Bernard, her 6th and last husband, a scholar of yoga & Tibetan Buddhism, married 1942, divorced 1946

(list via Wikipedia)

Personally, I think you have to appreciate her range…going from “Death Ray Inventor” husband to Buddhist-yogi husband within a year!

I’d say those are pre-gardening hands


Lotus Land Slim Paley photo

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A very Young Ganna

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Lotus LandSlim Paley Photo

There was much talk back in the day that Madame Walska’s relationship with her husband  Harold McCormick  was in fact the inspiration behind the screenplay for “Citizen Kane”

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But whether or not Madame Walska possessed any true talents as a singer, her gift for creating spectacular gardens remains indisputable.

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Palm frondsSlim Paley Photo

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Lotus LandSlim Paley photo

The Cactus Gardens of Lotusland are particularly impressive

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Lotus LandSlim Paley photo

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flowering cactusSlim Paley photo

Cactus flowers resembling something from under the sea

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cactus flowersSlim Paley photo

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Madame Walska’s difficult to locate memoirs were entitled “Always Room At The Top”

No Shrinking Violet was our Ganna :)

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Slim Paley photo

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Lotus LandSlim Paley Photo

A Jurassic moment in the Cactus Gardens

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Slim Paley Photo

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GreenSlim Paley photo

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Slim Paley photo

Lotusland overflows with delightfully creative details

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Chanel resort 2010

A look I like to think the eccentric Madame would have worn in the gardens.

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Slim Paley photo

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Slim Paley photo

A tranquil scene in the Japanese gardens

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Lotus Land, MontecitoSlim Paley photo

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Who needs jewelry when you can go into the garden and fetch a beautiful fresh lotus?!

Madame Walska made very few changes to the main residence during her lengthy reign at Lotusland, however she continued to indulge her passion for the gardens til the very end of her life, resorting to auctioning off her jewels to fund her beloved Cycad Garden as late as the 1970′s.

She remained the hands-on “Head Gardener” at Lotusland until her death at the age of 97.

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Happy CactusSlim Paley photo

Oh Dear…

So many husbands,

So many captions…

:)

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For more information on visiting Lotusland please click here

PS. Due to both the fascinating history  of Lotusland and value of many of the specimens, guided tours and appointments are mandatory

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