Monday, August 25, 2008

{travel: and we're off...}

to Southampton for a month of no work, quality down time with friends and family, and rejuvenation. I will certaintly try my best to blog, but we'll see!

{post-renovation: Sur La Mer}

The store is all shiny and new again, thanks to a risky paint color (Jade Garden) in the main room that totally paid off.

BEFORE (during renovation)

While I loved the original paint colors of Java Sea in the main room, and Palm Green in the back room... the update came at the perfect time.

AFTER- Above and Below

And a nice and toned down serene color in the back room that I'm loving.

My clients and customers are loving the changes, and so am I!

Friday, August 22, 2008

{chef: Elizabeth Goel's miniature "Bites" on The Food Network}

Around this time last year, I was scrambling to pull together my Inlaws 50th Wedding Anniversary party, being hosted at our home. The most important part of a party to me, is the food- well, and the music, people, flowers, location... Okay, food is one of the MOST important parts of a party, but one piece of many. If that one piece is not great, it could wreck the whole thing.

In my frustration to find a caterer that was up to par, I was given a tip to check out Bite Catering Couture, the latest rage in the Hollywood scene. I did, was blown away, she got the gig and made my party memorable in all the right ways.

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwich with a Shot of Soup
Miniature shrimp quesadillas
Mini Cheese Burgers
Mini Cone of Fries
About the chef:
Elizabeth graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University, and she earned her Grand Diplome in pastry arts from The French Culinary Institute of New York. Elizabeth is certified in food safety by the New York Restaurant Association’s ServSafe program and is a proud recipient of the prestigious NYC chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier Scholarship for women. Elizabeth has worked as an Assistant Pastry Chef at New York City’s famous Union Square Café, under Food Network Champions Chris Russom and Marjorie Chua at Let Them Eat Cake, and has independently catered for numerous private and corporate clients.

THE FOOD NETWORK: Watch Chef Elizabeth compete! Airing Aug 24th 8pm!

photos: courtesy of

Thursday, August 21, 2008

{shop: Sur La Mer 4 year anniversary sale}

It's our 4th anniversary and time for our annual sale- 15% off all merchandise in the store. Come by and see what we look like after 4 wonderful years (and a recent renovation)! This Friday until next Friday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

{The Legend of Pancho Barnes}

Not the fearless pilot, Pancho Barnes- just me.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to a film screening of a movie about a female pilot named Pancho Barnes. She was an unflappable character who is not well known but has earned a place in aviation history as one of the greatest female pilots. I just got lost in this story, and it somewhat ignited that spark of wanting to fly my own plane. I've co-piloted once, in poor conditions that terrified me- but never lost the idea of wanting to do it on my own. My dad used to fly over our house in Miami and scare my mother to death. I must have a bit of the adventure spirit in there somewhere. This story describes a woman with a personality that was looked down upon, misunderstood, and was way ahead of her time. I'd like to think I would have been great friends with her.

Barnes was renowned as a tough and fearless pilot, performing as a barnstormer throughout California and appearing in numerous films in the 1920s and '30s. Barnes was a friend and competitor of another female air pioneer, Amelia Earhart, and broke Earhart's air speed record, flying at 196 miles per hour in 1930.

Brig. Gen. Charles E. Yeager was among many aviation personalities entertained by Barnes at her guest ranch near Edwards Air Force Base, where Yeager became the first pilot to break the sound barrier in 1947. Known as The Happy Bottom Riding Club, the ranch was a hangout for test pilots and movie stars. It later was immortalized in Tom Wolfe's book, The Right Stuff. The club was destroyed by fire in 1953. Many of these historical aviators, including Yeager and Bob Hoover, were interviewed for the movie and tell their recollections of the wild days at the ranch.

We are looking forward to seeing the completed product on KOCE (PBS), and possibly in some of the more prominent film festivals.

{the going green "trend"}

I was just recently in Sundance, UT at the Sundance Resort, which is basically houses you rent that are run by the resort. I'm always interested to see what's going on in other parts of the country, and this was a beautiful surprise. The resort is nestled into gorgeous, lush mountains- very earthy, but not crunchy at all. What they do right, that other hotels up to this point still neglect, is their environmental footprint. Now, I'm no hypocrite here, and I certainly don't do all the things I can for the green movement, but I'm slowly and surely getting more on board and implementing the no-brainers into my daily routine. Here are the things the Sundance Resort is doing, and making it easy for their guests to do:

The view from our patio. Just being surrounded by that much nature automatically forces you to think about what our impact is on the environment.
It's difficult to read, but the trash can in the kitchen is separated into 4 units:
cans, plastic, paper, other.

They also provided reuseable shopping bags that had the following info printed on it:

Use this bag twice a week for two years and each bag will SAVE:
- 11 pounds of garbage
-832 plastic bags
- enough petroleum to drive a car 60 miles

And, a note on the bed that read:


In an effort to reduce wastewater and detergent, bed sheets are customarily changed at departure. However, if you would like your sheets changed during your stay, please leave this card on your pillow in the morning and your sheets will be changed that day.

We encourage you to consider making water conservation a part of your Sundance experience.

As a retail store owner, it is a challenge to leave a light footprint. The packaging it takes to ship a table or chair can get a bit out of hand. It is a problem that I don't have a solution for, but I don't work with many vendors that use "popcorn" anymore. Being so close to the beach, it inevitably blew around the street or the garbage men would spill it, and I had nightmares of it being blown into the ocean and it being my fault. We are currently switching to the new lightbulbs. That may sound like nothing, but you wouldn't believe how many lamps and lights are on 8 hours a day, everyday, at my store. Here are the other things Sur La Mer is doing, and no, going Green is not a "trend". If I hear one more politician say that...

- we "just say no" to vendors that pack in non-recyclable popcorn
- we are switching to the new lightbulbs
-we offer a 5% discount to anyone who purchases something and brings their own bag
- we recycle all our boxes and paper goods
-we NEVER use plastic bags
-we sell a line of bags that customers can use at the grocery store to eliminate the use of plastic bags
-we use earth friendly cleaning products
-we were one of the first design stores in our area to buy from vendors that use sustainable woods, reclaimed teak, and non-toxic stains

Monday, August 18, 2008

{design: interiors, designed}

It seems that everywhere I look lately, there are pictures of beautifully detailed watercolors of interiors. These are courtesy of the New York Times. I've been so inspired by them that I purchased a sketch pad and colored pencils to try to teach myself how to develop a complete and detailed room on paper. I'm hoping it will help with my architect and the cabin renovation project...

An 1846 watercolor of the Schloss Fischbach’s Red Room by Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Klose.
An1848 watercolor of the Queen's sitting room at Buckingham Palace.
The museum has supplemented the Thaw works with related watercolors, furniture, decorative objects and books. Thus Matthaus Kern’s 1837 depiction of a wonderfully austere Biedermeier study with a pinch-waisted side chair in one corner hangs near a similar real chair.

All Photos: Matt Flynn/Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

{travel: and we're off...}

to Sundance, Utah. Back to blog on Saturday.

Monday, August 11, 2008

{new kook on the Bravo block}

Kooky creative people are kind of my thing, and Rachel Zoe is my newest kook. The Rachel Zoe Project on Bravo TV may pass up my last kook favorite, Ashley Paige the bikini maker from her TV show, Ashley Paige- Bikini or Bust.

click here for Bravo site

{design: add guest house/garage}

location for guesthouse in front of house at end of driveway.
long driveway heading down from street to main house.

When I say "summer project", I mean that we will BEGIN. This by no means will take less than a year. That being said, we are about to approve the drawings and get them into the city to approve, or not.

{design: the new dock}

this is where we spend all our time, from morning to night, this is where all the action is.

{design:cabin renovation: add bedroom, living area, bathroom, garden room, wrap around deck}

As you can see, the previous owner didn't take much care of this house. We need the space, and we are going to turn this ground level deck into a bedroom, bathroom, living area, & garden room. It currently is about 35' wide and 20' deep. We will extend width by about 24' and depth by about 10'.

{design: cabin renovation, enlarge/enclose entry}

The existing entry to house is not functional. We will remove current front door, and enclose and extend this space. Possibly add closet space for ski gear, coats, etc. Also, add door on left side to go to wrap around deck on side of house.

{design: cabin renovation, wine grotto & billiard room}

stairway coming down from existing living room in the main house, to what was the previous owners basement.
door to the right side of the house. ground level.
sliders going to an unused ground/lake level deck.
overall shot of space.

{design: cabin renovation/additions}

We were just up at our cabin on Donner Lake in Truckee, CA., which we bought about a year ago and decided to do some quick, albeit major, renovations to bring it up to a user friendly level.

The house was an absolute mess when we got our hands on it, and we weren't sure if we would tear it down and start over- so we renovated the main areas (Phase One): kitchen, 2 baths, master suite, living room, dining room, den and fireplace- and most importantly, adding a dock. We did all this thinking there was a possibility we would end up scrapping it, but we wanted to be able to use it right away for skiing and then the summer.

To our surprise, the house turned out so great, that we are going to begin the next part of the process.

Below is the scope of the project. Phase two needs to get permitted asap in order for us to get the foundation and framing up prior to winter snowfall.

Phase One: Completed

Phase Two:

(all in the lower level): add bathroom, bedroom, wine grotto, billiard room, garden room/conservatory, living room, wrap around deck.

(upper level): enlarged entry, enlarged main outdoor deck area, enlarged master bedroom deck.

(outside): raise grade of driveway, add heating to driveway, relocate septic tank

Phase Three:

build two bedroom guest house with two car garage, change out all non-updated windows, resurface exterior woodwork, new roof, add seawall, add beach, lanscaping and tree removal

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

{travel: and we're off...}

to our cabin on donner lake again tomorrow. i'm going to take a few days off from the blog until i return. see you sunday.

*this picture was taken while CA was having major fires burning. You could barely see the sunset through all the smoke. Quite a sight to see.