A LOVE LETTER TO NEW ORLEANS

New Orleans is hands down one of my favorite cities in America.  The town has an undying spirit and a very palpable energy.  Even after the rest of America forgot about the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, the city endured.  It was disheartening returning almost a year later to see the poorest parts of town were still in shambles.  Full neighborhoods flattened into piles of rubble. The remaining homes and buildings had spray painted symbols, neon and unmistakable, signifying whether bodies were found inside. It was not like before, it instead grew fiercer, more stubborn and angry.  Violence was rampant, but the community fought back, organizing marches and committees.  The rage that was felt for the slow and incompetent aid funneled itself back into building the city, and that is why I love it.  New Orleans is the ultimate comeback story.  It's the revenge scene in a movie, and the best makeover montage possible.     

Sweeping trees and wrought iron balconies are the epitome of New Orleans.

Sweeping trees and wrought iron balconies are the epitome of New Orleans.

St. Louis Cathedral, French Quarter

St. Louis Cathedral, French Quarter

You don't have to walk far to find live music...

You don't have to walk far to find live music...

Steeple detail of cathedral at sunset.

Steeple detail of cathedral at sunset.

or stumble upon a traditional second line wedding parade.

or stumble upon a traditional second line wedding parade.

Typical balcony in the French Quarter. Grand enough for fifty people to throw beads on you from atop. 

Typical balcony in the French Quarter. Grand enough for fifty people to throw beads on you from atop. 

Even the alleys are beautiful.

Even the alleys are beautiful.

Every piece of real estate counts.

Every piece of real estate counts.

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This is just the tiniest sliver of New Orleans, because I focused on the French Quarter.  The city has way more to offer than this.  There's impressive art galleries opening up everywhere (my favorite is the Good Children Gallery ), bars off the beaten path like The Saturn Bar with constant live music, and amazing local restaurants like Jacques Imo's. The food is incomparable, the architecture is unforgettable, the art scene is GREAT, there's music everywhere and there's just an air of romance to the whole city.   If you haven't visited, GO.  

SEEEEECRETSSSSSS...

So I swear this isn't just a ploy for you to look at my vacation photos.  I really was just inspired by the architecture of the resort we stayed in.  Unfortunately, the resort was called Secrets Marquis in San Jose del Cabo, that name alone was giggle inducing.

However, the grounds were spectacular, well manicured, and had surprising pops of color amidst the white sand beaches.  

This was the lobby!  It was open air, one side looked upon the mountains, the other side the sea.

This was the lobby!  It was open air, one side looked upon the mountains, the other side the sea.

Color me magenta! This was just a random staircase I found tucked into a corner of the resort.

Color me magenta! This was just a random staircase I found tucked into a corner of the resort.

Hallway to the magenta stairwell.

Hallway to the magenta stairwell.

Amazing bronze sculptures were everywhere. This one was definitely my favorite!

Amazing bronze sculptures were everywhere. This one was definitely my favorite!

That tiny speck is me!  Loved the infinity pools.  It felt like you were walking straight into the ocean.

That tiny speck is me!  Loved the infinity pools.  It felt like you were walking straight into the ocean.

I love this picture! From far away you can imagine it to be a painting with the bronze figures in the bottom right being a signature.

I love this picture! From far away you can imagine it to be a painting with the bronze figures in the bottom right being a signature.

Gorgeous arbor! So simple and striking.

Gorgeous arbor! So simple and striking.

The waterfall over the outdoor  bar.

The waterfall over the outdoor bar.

Obligatory sunset shot!

Obligatory sunset shot!

I really loved these bronze sculptures. They were both dark and beautiful. Not something I expected there.

I really loved these bronze sculptures. They were both dark and beautiful. Not something I expected there.

SANTA BARBARA COURTHOUSE

The husband took me to Santa Barbara for the weekend.  Sounds glamourous, but I pretty much served as craft services for the shoot he was producing.  I happily grilled up burgers and dogs in the beautiful house we shot at, and we fully took advantage of their wonderful beaches.  On the way into town we passed by the gorgeous courthouse and I made Brian promise me that we'd tour it on the way out.  We did, and it was AMAZING!  Is that where the citizens of Santa Barbara go for a speeding ticket? If so, sign me up! Every courthouse I've been in is has terrible fluorescent lighting that makes everyone's skin a sickly green. This Spanish Colonial building is an architectural marvel... 

When we first passed the grounds we thought it was a university. We soon frolicked in the lush green grass.

Main hallway of the courthouse.

One of the many beautiful hallways I found here. Everywhere I turned had something gorgeous!

Is this real life? There were amazing details in every corner of this room.

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ABC CARPET + HOME

If you ever find yourself in New York, you must visit ABC Carpet & Home.  I believe every home furnishing store wishes to be like them, but nowhere compares to the vastness of this building. There are floors upon floors of furniture, lighting, decor, rugs, kitchen, bath, jewelry, there's even a restaurant inside, in case looking at beautiful things makes you peckish.  

STUNNING ENTRIES

A dynamic entry sets the tone for your home or business.  Here are some of my favorites!

A beautiful Spanish style home in Hancock Park.

An apartment gate in Brooklyn.

The entryway for the Mondrian Soho.

The gorgeous stairs for a house in Larchmont Village.

The gorgeous stairs for a house in Larchmont Village.

PAINT IT BLACK

Well hopefully you just have that song stuck in your head now.  

When I told Brian I wanted to paint the bathroom black, he looked at me like I was crazy.  Of course, he looks at me like that quite often.  Being the doll that he is, he finally caved and painted the whole room while I was at work as my Christmas present.  It makes everything so much more bold and dynamic, and really brought out the gorgeous curves of our ceiling. 

He also hung the large paper mache gazelle for me, in which he lovingly named Gazelle Bundchen.  

Don't ever be afraid of taking chances with paint, it's just paint!

NATURE INSPIRED BEDROOM

So this is my take on a nature inspired bedroom.  There's flora, there's fauna (a puggle, if that counts) and enough natural light to read for endless hours on your Kindle.  

Hamilton is the ultimate photo bomber.

This pattern is a gorgeous washed linen from Designers Guild.  The tone in the print matched perfectly with my wall color. 

This is a fireplace that I built back when we had a garage in Texas.  It makes a great romantic focal point.  I even replicated a tapestry I saw into a painting.  If you love something, try to make it first!

I hand painted these birch trees up the wall to create more interest and it's less commitment than wallpaper. It really brings your eyes up to our amazing ceilings.

HD BUTTERCUP

H.D. Buttercup is one of my favorite places in L.A.  The store is located in the Helms Bakery district and it is huge! I find great inspiration in the space because there is every which style you can think of.  Just because you can't afford it, doesn't mean you can't find something similar for less.  

The section of the store was one of my favorites. It was tucked in the very back and evoked a very masculine feel with just a touch of glamour. I would be happy snuggling up on one of those supple vintage leather sofas and watching an episode of Scandal or seeing Brian enjoy a fine glass of scotch.  It's appealing for the both of us!

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