Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Thanks to all who serve in the armed forces.

Have you ever tried to explain this holiday? Like why on a day dedicated to remembering people who died in the service of the country has become the unofficial first day of Summer, that we celebrate with shopping, or picnics and barbeque's, or going to the beach, or on camping trips.

On another subject, has anyone seen Sex And The City 2? Yes or no?

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Deauville. Lady of the French coast, its most glamorous seaside resort.

Well, not excatly that Lady Deauville, but rather the old broad Deauville on North Beach in Miami.

The last time we were here was in 1997. There was a huge fire a few years ago, and the entire hotel was renovated.

Lobby of the renovated Deauville Hotel on Miami Beach

The renovation kept the flavor of the hotel in it's modern heyday during the 1960's. Many of the cursive architectural details are intact.

The retro arches outside of the Deauville Hotel are still intact and fabulous

There are many nice decorative touches throughout the hotel.

Glass "bubbles" grace the entrances on the lower level of the Deauville Hotel, the level that leads to the pool and the beach.

The Beatles stayed and performed at the Deauville in 1964!

It was also a favorite hang out for The Rat Pack (Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey...)

Go HERE to read the history of this iconic hotel.

Deauville Hotel Pool in 1964

Deauville Hotel Pool 2010

Come into a suite we are occupying. It's a good case study in hotel interior design.

The entry hall has an over size demi lune table in Wenge wood, with a large gold leaf mirror above it. The floor in every room except the bedroom is marble.

The living room is well appointed with contemporary furnishings. The color palette throughout is a pale yellow, greige, and soft sage green. Dark wood is the accent color.

Enough accessories are used to make it feel designed, but not overbearing.

There are several different fabric textures: the rug, the silky club chairs and sofa, and the patterned arm chairs.

The drapery fabric in both rooms is a subtle grey and yellow stripe in a linen like fabric.

I like the circle pattern in the area rug juxtaposed with the small print on the chairs, and the round back of the chairs, and the round coffee table.

The bedroom is classic hotel design as we now know it, and incorporate into home decor.

There is an over size padded headboard, with simple tufting, upholstered in a matte metallic leather (faux?).

Two dark wood nightstands with white gourd shape lamps with drum shades look current.

The Deauville Hotel is not the most glam or luxurious in Miami, but it is comfortable and well designed, and the service is good.

The paint application is interesting. Three colors are used: yellow, gray (greige), and white.

The art work in the room is pretty.

Notice that the wood work and doors are painted the same color as the walls, and all in flat paint, something I do in my design work.

There are two chairs in the bedroom, a club chair upholstered in a yellow damask, and an armless chair in a gray stripe.

The patterned rug is striking. It's gray and yellow, and the pattern looks like a stsaggered bar code.

I love the pillow with the big initial on it - I may do this at home. There was only one accent pillow, and I kept moving it around like the lone orchid plant at a budget photo shoot going from room to room.

The desk (which I use as a vanity) is dark wood and rattan with a taupe leather top.

The bathroom is all marble, but it has design flaws, like a small pedestal sink with no counter space (we dragged in an end table from the living room), and there is not one towel bar or hook!

And pray tell what are we doing in Miami just days after Alberto being in the hospital?

We are at The Miami Tango Fantasy Festival. We were invited guests at the very first one held at the Deauville Hotel in 1997, and we were invited back again this year.

The Miami Tango Fantasy is the best tango festival being offered anywhere, with first rate ameneties, tons of classes, held at a wonderful resort location with dances and classes all under one roof.

The neighborhood of North Beach has always been a little seedy, but it has come up quite a bit since 1997. There are several restaurants (one stays open 24 hours) with well priced good food across the street from the hotel, a couple of food markets, a Walgreens that has everything, and of course miles of the most beautiful beach.

Thanks to everyone for all the get well wishes for Alberto. He has three coronary stints, and is feeling very good. He gets the leg blockages taken care of in six weeks.

We are enjoying this getaway, seeing many old friends and students, and dancing too. In fact we are performing an exhibition for The Night of The Milongueros.

So Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I wonder what you all are doing...

PS Jack is staying at our house, with his dog Girl (a Pitt Bull-Boxer-Catahoula mix) who loves Cholo, and our neighbors Larry (who works for the FBI) and Julie are looking in too. Just sayin'

Thursday, May 27, 2010


My friend Michael Pelkey and I have a long standing tradition of gift giving to one another and to everyone else we love, and to every home we are invited to. We lump it all in the category of "hostess gifts". Michael can never give one, and when we see each other, he lavishes them upon me, beautiful little things he has picked up here and there over time.

Michael Pelkey lavishes an embarrassment of hostess gifts
on the Visual Vamp on a visit to Key West

I was feeling blue, and all of a sudden the postman rang twice. Cholo barked his head off, and the mailman left a box on the front porch.

It 's a gift from my dearest Michael Pelkey!!!! Look at his regular handwriting! It's calligraphy!
And look at the gift wrapping! He used remnants from a $300. a roll of grass cloth wall paper that looks like raffia. The ribbon is chiffon with a leopard print!

He sent me a Majolica plate for my collection, a string of pearls, and bundles of wooden utensils he thought I would use for the lunches I serve in the garden that he affectionately calls my "French Woman's Lunch".

Visual Vamp Majolica plate in the fireplace mantle in the kitchen

Michael does his gift wrapping effortlessly, usually while sitting on the floor, or at his kitchen table, or maybe sitting on his bed.

I started to think about the gift wrap room that became popular when Candy Spelling had a picture of hers published.

It seemed so luxurious and decadent back then!!! Like only rich people would dedicate a whole room for wrapping presents!

But now, it's become mainstream, and people turn laundry rooms into rooms for gift wrapping.

Martha Stewart certainly played a huge part in the art of gift wrapping.

Where do you wrap your gifts? Have you turned a closet into a gift wrap station?

An armoire makes a nifty place to store all the gift wrap things.

I have all my gift wrap stuff stashed on a cubby hidden by a skirt in my dining room, and like Michael, I wrap my gifts sitting on the floor.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Said I'd Never Go Camping

What are you plans for the first official weekend of Summer?

Do you like to go camping? Alberto loved going with his kids when they were all younger. He often asked me if I liked camping, and I said, uh no, I like a nice hotel when I go on holiday.

You would think an old hippie dippie like me would have gotten back to the land back in the day, but I am a city slicker who enjoys the country as long as I have my creature comforts.

I do love a sleeping porch HERE

These sweet little tents with a proper porch like floor seem like something I could do, something like a sleeping porch.

Nestled in the country side of the Midwest, these uber tents are appointed with proper furniture (no sleeping bags on the ground), charming vintage touches, and there is a pump house all dolled up for bathing.

Out houses sure beat going behind a bush, and I am sure these have a sweet little vase (maybe a wall pocket) of fresh country flowers.

There are outdoor sinks to wash out a thing or two, and hang it on a clothes line.

The tents really look comfy and cozy and well protected, and most important, well decorated.

No TV, no cell phone, no internet, no electricity - just bring a good book to read by lantern light.

There are little stoves to make coffee on, or maybe even cook a simple meal, though a hearty country breakfast is provided.

Tables and benches are sprinkled around for dining alfresco. And don't forget the hammocks!

Forget a swimming pool! Cool off in a bath in your claw foot tub.

Then back to the tent for a little siesta, or take a hike, work the land...

Where is this sweet place? In Idaho of course! Become one of the Farmgirl Sisterhood and stay at MaryJanes Farm HERE