L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels is a french jewelry house known for their whimsical designs from florals to fairies and charming ballerinas.  They are also known for is their jewelry making school called L’ÉCOLE which, until recently, was only offered in Paris. Now, L’ÉCOLE has found a temporary new home in New York offering classes until mid-June for people like me that are interested in how things are created and learning by doing. Tucked elegantly into the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, you can’t help but feel like you are transported to Paris in a classroom wrapped in crown molding and french accented teachers who are skilled jewelers guiding you.

The course I took was Savoir-Faire, a four hour class where skilled instructors walk you through the first six steps of jewelry making. I loved learning how to paint a diamond in gouache, and how a little flat butterfly design becomes something you learn how to cut out, shape, hold and glue diamonds (ok, rhinestones) into as they teach you the jeweler’s gestures.

These classes are very intimate, only 12 students, and run from now through June 18th. Other courses include looking into the world of watchmaking, gemstones, and the art history of jewelry

I’ve always appreciated the beauty of high jewelry but until I actually tried my hand at it, I didn’t understand the intense skill it requires to make the charming pieces I am so lucky to get to wear to events like this past year’s School of American Ballet Winter Ball. I wouldn’t exactly say I learned a new skill yesterday (in fact I learned it takes 10-15 years as an apprentice before you can begin to make high jewelry) but I certainly did gain a new level of understanding into a world that makes life sparkle.   

LECOLE_NewYork_004 LECOLE_NewYork_005 LECOLE_NewYork_006 Continue reading…

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The East End

Exploring the hamptons in NYDJ's summer 2015 collection

After our great west coast adventure, NYDJ wanted us to do another travel journal but for the east coast and I thought what a wonderful way to spend a few days out in the Hamptons!  All last year we found ourselves in Amagansett as much as possible where we shared a house with friends, making memories around the fireplace in the winter months and by the pool in the summer ones. There is something about the light out there that is mystical. There is nothing like shooting out here, and some of my favorite stories were made just like that.  I used to lay in the grass on summer afternoons and watch the light dancing in the trees and as the sun set, wrapping it’s beams around objects like frosted glass. I loved exploring this east end of Long Island, home to so many inspiring artists, friends and amazing restaurants.

NYDJ is perfect for quick little summer getaways. The fit and feel of the clothing makes traveling for hours in a car or plane much more comfortable. Not to mention the philosophy of the brand is all about focusing on flattering the figure and natural curves while being effortless and non-fussy. Which means, if you’re like me, you can hop on a bike for a quick afternoon ride and then transition seamlessly into dinner looking put together. 

With a suitcase full of new summer looks, we hoped in our vintage Mercedes convertible and hit the road to visit some of our old favorites haunts I’ve been longing for since the first day of spring…

  Exploring the hamptons in NYDJ's summer 2015 collection

Above- sitting outside Jack’s Coffee in the perfect NYDJ white summer pantGeorgette Sleeveless Henley topBlack Patent Leather Ballerina Ferragamo, and MAIYET gold cuff

Love Jack’s Coffee. It’s such a fun watering hole in both the city and out here in the country.  You always run into people you know in that most charming of small towns kind of way and from time to time you stand in line behind famous people like Giada de Laurentiis or Julianne Moore (happend). 

Exploring the hamptons in NYDJ's summer 2015 collection Exploring the hamptons in NYDJ's summer 2015 collection

Below- Checking into the Surf Lodge with my Ralph Lauren Ricky Drawstring Bag,  NYDJ white Millie pull-on ankle pantGeorgette Sleeveless Henley topBlack Patent Leather Ballerina Ferragamo, and MAIYET gold cuff

Exploring the hamptons in NYDJ's summer 2015 collection

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was to visit Jackson Pollock’s artist studio in Springs, NY, just up the road from Amagansett. It was an incredible experience to walk into this barn studio that sits quietly on a meadow that drew Jackson here, influencd his work, as well as the work of Lee Krasner, his wife and fellow artist. I couldn’t believe we were able to walk on the floors where splatters of paint that made some of the most important American modern art works were made.  Continue reading…

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Feria de Abril de Sevilla

Feria_de_Abril_de_Sevilla_002

Sometimes when you travel you happen upon magical moments which is precisely where I found myself on a recent trip to Seville. Once we arrived I noticed many of the women walking around town in gorgeous traditional Spanish dress. One thing led to another and here we were, standing in the middle of Seville’s “Feria de Abril“, Seville’s April Fair.

Lasting for six days these rows of “casetas” are built on the fairgrounds in which a parade of decorated carriages and riders trot back in forth in front of. Casetas, which are elaborately decorated tents, are each individually owned by families, groups of friends, prominent businesses, or political parties where inside Spaniards enjoy live music, traditional dance, rebjuito, and tapas.

It was a magical transition stepping into a world I’d never known or experienced, so rich in tradition and culture. I was an invisible witness as I wondered through with my camera, smiling the entire way.

Feria_de_Abril_de_Sevilla_003 Feria_de_Abril_de_Sevilla_004 Continue reading…

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Snapshots from Seville

  Snapshots from Seville, Spain

We found ourselves with a few days off in Spain after our Dom Pérignon experience in Barcelona so we asked around where would be a great place to visit outside a big city. Everyone said Seville. Typically before we travel to a new place I do extensive research on the town, best places to stay, eat, activities, cultural norms but I didn’t have time in this instance, we just hopped on a plane and let discovery find us. 

First thing I did was find a beautiful boutique hotel, Corral del Rey. We had breakfast every morning on the terrace overlooking Seville and it’s skyline dotted with steeples. We discovered Iberian ham, the world’s largest gothic cathedral where Christopher Columbus is buried, where they filmed Star Wars, where they filmed Game of Thrones (OBSESSED), and that Spain has hands down the best food in the world… and sangria. We also learned that Spaniards don’t do mornings and love to eat dinner around 9 or 10pm. And finally, we found Spain to be very affordable which is always fun for travel. 

One of the things that makes travel magical is opening yourself up to new experiences, sights and sounds which you could never have anticipated, and become immediately enchanted with. Walking around a small city under a canopy of orange tress was as intoxicating as getting lost in the small narrow hallway walls that wind you around town in a magical maze of wonder. Once, one of our walks led us by AIRE baths, the concept of a Roman bathhouse reopened in Roman ruins and a 16th century mansion. Imagine floating in a candle lit room between ancient walls from the first century AD and then going in a hot tub on the roof of the mansion overlooking Seville to the sound of church bells ringing. 

Favorite places:  Alcázar of Seville *pre-buy your tickets with your hotel so you don’t have to wait in a crazy long line and go when they open so you’ll have the place to yourself*|| Cathedral of Seville || Mamarracha *this place was SO GOOD we went twice for dinner and have cried about missing it ever since* || Corral del Rey || Aire de Sevilla || Mercado Lonja del Barranco *to eat, drink, people watch and dance*

Here are some snapshots from Seville…

                                 Snapshots from Seville, Spain Snapshots from Seville, Spain Continue reading…



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