Seeing Red (II)

Valentine's chocolates slimpaley.com

Here we are already, just a day before Valentine’s.

 A day that has everyone seeing red-whether they like it or not.  Many will partake of romance, roses & chocolates, while others will take issue with the overt commercialization of Cupid.  I agree the bloat of mylar hearts, pink bears on a stick and tightly bound fluorescent flowers invading the local markets can be off-putting.

Valentine’s may also strike a sensitive chord in those who are sweetheart-less on the day and truth be told, that’s a lot of folks, as the plethora of on-line dating sites will attest. Being forced to assess our romantic status whether we want to or not…just what we need-more pressure!

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the day could be quite an emotionally scarring affair as far back as elementary school (in the old, less sensitive days before everyone received a token Valentine) It was usually the girls with double hook bras that received the most cards. Single hook, or worse, training bra girls received a small stack (oh dear-no pun intended)  including a pity card from the teacher. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

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Funny the things we remember. NOT.

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But let’s kiss and make up.  All is forgiven if not forgotten!

And let us get back to RED, shall we?

Whatever you make of it, it’s certainly THE Colour of the Moment.

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There’s a chunk of it in my hair. You heard me.

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and happens to be the colour of my new favourite cocktail, the Negroni Unknown

Go Red For WomenThe 11th annual “Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards” at Lincoln Centre in NY on Tuesday.

Most importantly, it’s the colour of the month to honour Heart Disease Awareness For Women.

Many of us still associate heart attacks with men, but heart disease is actually the #1 killer of women in this country.

Why not sport the colour red in whatever fashion or form you wish this month to help raise awareness?

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 Segueing back to a little lighter fare…

Le rouge, le rouge is everywhere!

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roses slimpaley.com

I too was in the hunt for a red gown for a dear friend’s big birthday bash this month. Ladies in red, gentlemen black tie.

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I was slightly worried  (panicked) as red, as I’ve also mentioned, is definitely NOT my colour.

There isn’t a time after the age of 30 I’ve applied true red lipstick where I haven’t thought of Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” and off it comes.

Plus it really interferes with my eating..

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Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 7.50.10 PMPaperFashion via Instagram

RED

 I’m neither light enough or dark enough to wear it well. It brings out the red in my chest, the white in my face and the mouse in my hair.

Did I mention I wear earth tones well?

Eventually, after my usual pre-party angst-ing  I found something.

655653 It wasn’t this.

It wasn’t even close to this.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 7.23.08 PMDennis Basso photo via Paperfashion

The runways were absolutely throbbing with red for Fall 2014/15 this month.

ed5164a0f062366bef89bb7dbb68635cPrabal Gurung Fall 2014/15

Zac Posen Fall 2014

Zac Posen Fall 2014

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Pink & red roses in the window of one of the most beautiful rose shops in the world in Paris

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Karlie Kloss being fierce in red. Donna Karan Fall 2014

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Sneaking back for another shot at night (The Hotel Costes Bar is next door!)

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carolina herrera Fall 2014

Karlie again in Carolina Hererra Fall 2014

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Ralph Lauren Fall 2014

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Even Andre Leon Talley was wearing a red dress this week.

No wonder there was a scarcity.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 7.24.17 PMvia Vanity Fair

Oscar de la Renta Fall 2014. Wow.

Elie Saab

Elie Saab Fall 2014-15

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And what a stunningly beautiful, magical birthday celebration it was.

In fact after this week there are two more things I’m adding to my list of

‘Things I’d Love to Do When I Grow Up’

1) Design male figure skater’s costumes

2) have a party planned by Colin Cowie.

Visualisation is the first step to realisation!

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Wishing everyone a Very Happy Valentine’s Day!

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(I mean, if you go in for that sort of thing…)

and remember…

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Mwah, Mwah

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Blasts from the past;

the last time I was Seeing Red

A Valentine post from 3 years ago today; Romance & Roses

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GoRedforWomen.org

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Abundance

slimpaley.com

Hey there. Only 8 more days before Christmas!

So can I get a high-five on being the blog to decide (and worse, announce) a total design/format face-lift between Thanksgiving and Christmas?!

Ya, that won’t be happening until after the New Year.

WHAT was I thinking?!

I’ve no idea. Why didn’t anybody stop me?!

Let’s just pretend it never happened and try to enjoy one or two Christmasy posts before the 25th.

New Year, New Face.

Back to Christmas.

The sheer abundance of holiday inspiration available on the internet is both stunning and staggering. Remember when we used to buy maybe a 1/2 dozen (tops) December magazines, tear out a few images and be on our merry way?

Oh, the good old days

Now the choices, the themes, the internet shopping, the 500 different types of LED lights…

What to make of it all?

sugar dipped cranberries

There’s something to be said for just sugar-coating some cranberries, cracking open the champagne and calling it a day.

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You can stick with the tried and true, the bells and gingham of childhood memory

silver & red

Or…

Grand Hall

You can DECK THOSE HALLS DAMMIT

Christmas

What are you up for?!

Christmas tableRelatively simple, yet lush?

door wreath

Keeping it fresh?

roses, Bristol Hotel, slimpaley.com

Flowers in the Hotel Bristol, Paris

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Miho Kosuda NYC

silver platter chargerI’ll let you in on a little secret-

I’m so stealing this idea of using vintage serving trays as chargers. Someday. When I add to my collection of 3. Local Santa Barbara antique enthusiasts back off. It was my idea…OK, it wasn’t, but at least give me a two week lead. Professional courtesy as it were :-)

christmas cocktails slimpaley.comA little bar in my dining room last year.

Or…

wine on ice

Just throw some ice and a few pinecones into a bowl and get on with it.

cmas234It’s all good…

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First Instagram image of “Botanik” in Summerland, California (a great florist/gift shop)

Sugar coated cranberries via PeachyTheMag

Uncredited images via Pinterest

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Oh #$&^*%(#… It’s December!!

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Wait

Does the calendar say December 8th already??

et moi, without a single post up yet for the month?.

I guess that old kidnapping story won’t fly again.

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or  “the dog ate my computer” excuse.

To tell the truth, the days have flown by and I’m as surprised as anyone that Christmas is just a little more than two weeks away.

I’m out of my sling, driving again and continuing physical therapy but, with no offense (my therapist is adorable) the process alternates between being boring, guilt provoking and painful (insert your old relationship’s name here)

The upside is I’ve found I have a ton of company. I’ve joined a ‘Torn Rotator Cuff Society’ where we all give secret “Live Long and Prosper” salutes, albeit with awkwardly hunched-up shoulders.

Christmas will be different in our home this year. I’m not decorating in our traditional fashion, so unfortunately, I won’t have my usual Christmas fare to share. It would be impossible for me to get on a ladder to dress the tree. Let’s get real, I still can’t even tie up my hair.

OK, let’s get really real, did I mention I gained 10 lbs? NO JOKE, therefore not at all funny so stop laughing!

Who would imagine that months of no exercise, a steady diet of comfort food and a newly acquired penchant for red wine would be so deleterious??

But I don’t really like to talk about weight, diets and yucky things so we’ll leave that there.

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December sunset in Santa Barbara

Changes are afoot for ‘Slim Paley’. Good changes (hopefully)

After 4 years it’s time.

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Somebody forgot to tell my roses it was December.

I’ll be tinkering with my entire format and design, so please bear with me in the following weeks.  I need to address issues such as my crowding columns and “Category Cloud” disappearance.

Let’s face it-”Slim” needs a lift

I’d like to return to shorter, more frequent posts and possibly include some short videos too.

2014 Baby!!

In the meantime, please do visit my past December posts in the Archives,

as well as The Popular Kids,

and my Travel tab which I’ve been updating slowly but surely.

More new travel coming soon!

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Keep your cool in the crowds, don’t let the holidays make you crazy, and remember…

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to breathe.

And feel free to comment with any great holiday tips for us :-)

Happy December!!

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Dog photo via Pinterest

Happy Summer Solstice!

gingerbread cottage

Summer’s HERE!!

Even though I live in Southern California I still get so excited about its official arrival, don’t you?!

Would that it last as long as it did when we were children. An eternity, it seemed.

Growing up in Vancouver, where it stayed light until almost 10pm at night, we’d ride our bikes to the park to play softball, fluorescent ‘clackers’ spinning on tire spokes, streamers flying from our handle bars until the street lights signaled it was time to go home. Occasionally a friend would show up at our front door on a horse instead of a bike and we’d end up at ‘The Barn’ where I’d marvel (be jealous) at the girls who weren’t afraid of horses the way I was. I wanted my parents to have Avocado Green appliances more than I wanted a horse of my own. I think that was telling sign of what was coming down the pipeline, don’t you?!

 As we got older, we’d walk barefoot to the beach (OK, we often hitchhiked, swear to God, but never at night and never alone. What were we thinking?? It was a different world back then) our leather fringed purses (twice as big as our cut-offs) bulging with “Sun-In”, baby oil, cigarettes, Yardley “Pot-o-Gloss”, hairbrushes, Sweet Tarts and salted sunflower seeds. No sunscreen. No sunglasses. No phones or cameras.

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Like I said, a different world.

It was sweet.

Now that I’m a grown-up (most of the time) I no longer sit in the sun. I really miss it, as well as the tan, but I know it’s not worth it. I certainly don’t wear cut-offs the size of a hang-nail and pay a hell of a lot more  to colour my hair. Friends no longer show up at the door on horseback and I own my own car, so that takes care of the hitch-hiking issue.

But let’s not get all melancholy, there’s still plenty of fun to be had when summer arrives!

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We’re so blessed here in Santa Barbara, with beautiful beaches and stunning mountains just a mile or so in from the water’s edge.

In less than 1/2 hour we can be over those mountains and into the wine regions of Los Olivos and Santa Ynez.

pink roses on my porch

Roses from my garden sit on the front porch.

My garden brings me pleasure I never would have predicted in my younger years. I wear a big hat, have my favourite wooden handled clippers… I’m half-way to wearing Liberty print gardening gloves truth be told.

My brother even bought me this so I could enjoy my evening glass of wine while I’m gardening (is this a brother gift, or what?!)

gardening glass with lid

In fact, I did a thorough walk around my property the other day and decided to buy myself another little gift to celebrate the first day of Summer;

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For the bigger jobs. and it’s cordless. So exciting! I really wanted the fluorescent green one (like my old clackers) but this one had the best rating.

Yes, times have changed.

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So what are your plans this summer?

ImageAre you looking forward to a long lazy one filled with languorous hours of reading?

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Will you stick close to home, do lots of grilling, making home made ice-creams, sorbets and popsicles with your kids?

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Mango Lassi Popsicle recipe

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Perhaps you’ll be boating like Kate? (you simply must have plenty of black & white in your summer wardrobe-but that’s another post!)

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Take a family holiday to Europe or go water-skiing on a chilly lake?

Lake Muskoka, Ontario

Beautiful Lake Muskoka, Ontario

Shasta trailerTake a road trip  (I saw this beauty in Los Olivos)

38325ab6556782aef43a2e84c94f3341Re-do a guest room in cool tones

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Update your draperies, white wash your kitchen (I’m thinking of it) or have some summer slip-covers made?

Slim Paley's car slipcoversPhoto of my car by David Tsay for House Beautiful

ha ha!  I still have the car, but I’m afraid the chintz slip covers, like my old cut-offs are way past their prime :-)

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 12.49.43 AMphoto Drew Jarrett via Elle Italia

Will you go biking, sailing, play tennis, swim your heart out, or run your first marathon

Or maybe just set a goal to read ten GREAT books?

that sounds wonderful to me!

tumblr_md1kj7Gn4s1rpx9bqo1_500And will you be looking for the “Super Moon” tonight?

(ps. I started this post on Friday night-Summer’s almost over for God’s sake)

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Me, at a friend’s home, taking a photo of a weird ring around the sun in Montecito

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See that’s the wonderful, fabulous, exciting thing about Summer

Your options are as numerous as the stars.

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*Wooden Popsicles by Johnny Hermann

HAPPY SUMMER!!!!

May it be long, fun and memorable in the best possible way.

xoxo

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“Johnny Hermann is the alter-ego of craftsman & designer Mauro Savoldi from Milan. He re-creates the vibrant, colorful magic of summer ices, recalling one of the sweetest and most nostalgic treasures of our past.”

FYI; The original “popsicle” was invented by an 11 year old boy in San Francisco in 1905.

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The Old Girl Gets a New Look

bright orange roses for summer

Everyone loves a good Before & After Story right?

Well, I orchestrated one this week (actually in just 36 hours)

It’s not quite finished yet and I did pilfer a couple of items that will have to be returned to their rightful places in my home eventually, but the results made me so happy I just couldn’t wait to share.

I even have music to accompany your stroll (If you love Bryan Ferry and old fashioned Big Band music you should check out his new CD “Jazz Age”


Um. Just one other thing…I forgot to take the “Before” photos, but trust me, it wasn’t exactly bad, but it’s much nicer now!

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It all began with the massive antique lantern below.  Over 3ft high and heavy with detail, I bought it in London eons ago and never found a home for it.

I know it looks like rubbish here

photobut with my newly invigorated passion for bright pink coinciding with getting bolder in my dotage I said to myself ;

“Slim, that old lantern is kind of fahbulous- why not paint it bright pink, I mean bright pink, replace the glass and hang it in the conservatory for the summer?

In days gone by, we used this wonderful room right off our dining room so much, but a few years ago it began to leak (hellooo-the house was built in 1895) so we moved most of the furniture out, save an old table and chairs and slowly stopped using it.

I can safely say “Hey, let’s all go to the conservatory!” is not a sentence you hear often in a household of boys.

 Even after I had the glass roof repaired (the swearing-ist glass repair workmen ever. How unreasonable is it to ask them not to walk on the antique glass??) I never got around to putting the furniture back in.

890A8465Until this week.

Summerize your cocktail barHaving recently been so inspired by the colours and textures of Morocco, along with my love for lively Sri Lankan style,

and with Summer almost upon us…

Summer decoratingAll of a sudden I wanted the room done like yesterday.

Know that feeling?? It doesn’t just apply to hair and nails.

A summer conservatoryOne of my favourite vintage Suzanis in hot pinks & purples served as my colour wheel

The silver tray I brought home from Morocco. Seriously. I love British Airways.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy walking by and seeing it every day.

brightly coloured rosesThe roses are from my garden

Summer cocktail bar

What’s more fun than setting up a Summer bar?!

The drinks…OK, Smarty Pants.  I love these tiny tropical bananas from our local Asian grocery store.

 High/Low; Wicker lamp from Pottery Barn (in stores now) glassware from Christian Dior (couldn’t resist those sea glass colours and unusual shape)

gingersnap rosesVerging on vulgar in the garden but so great brought inside, these orange roses are for real. NO photo enhancement.

890A8536Tons of inspiration in the beautiful book “Rajasthan”

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Long time readers know of my weakness for a touch of red & white stripe come summer

890A8549Striped “dhurrie” from Pottery barn, ottoman “George Smith”, vintage leather poof

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890a8572Yellow throw pillow “Pottery Barn”, straw hat “Maison K” Montecito

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890A8574A couple of fav. mags always beckon one into a room

summerize your bar

890a8568Now I can’t wait to get up in the morning and have my tea in the conservatory-it’s positively singing with sunlight

(the hat is a must-slightly weird with my bathrobe but what the hell. Sorry for that visual)

890A8581and the perfect place for cocktails at Day’s end (or Day’s middle-towards-end..ish)

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 I know that some of you still in possession of a decent attention span might be asking

“But Slim, where’s the hot pink lantern??”

Still in the garage of course.

Stay tuned.

Let’s not get tooo crazy! :)

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