Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mis En Place

Sweet Cheffie... I showed him my blog tonight for the first time and he told me I should have called it "Mis en place" --> the kitchen term for putting everything in its place and getting ready for a shift.

Silly boy thought the name meant "prep work" as in the culinary world, not preppy as in the Ralph Lauren, Lilly Pullitzer world... :*)

Gardening in Texas Giveaway!

It is spring in Texas! Hurray! We are almost past the point of our last threat of frost. It has been hovering around 80 most of the week in Austin and I have been gardening like crazy. What's growing in my garden? I am SO glad you asked:

Six varieties of tomato including: heirloom purple, cherry black, yellow, juliet, and beef steak
Bell Peppers
Sweat Peas
Two Hydrangeas
Snap Dragons
Bearded Iris
Gerber Daisy
Ageratum Blue Mink
Globe Gilia
Evening Primrose
Love in a Mist
Five Spot
Blue Bonnets
Calla Lilies
and I have even grown an Oak seedling from an acorn that had sprouted a root in my flower bed.
Forget Me Nots
Ruffled Elephant Ear Ferns
Fox Tail Fern

I know there are more but for now that's all I can recall... Since I know many of you are still shoveling snow and scraping off windshields in the morning I thought I would host a giveaway to send a little spring your way.

I'm giving away a garden in a bag! These are positively wonderful and we've grown cilantro and basil successfully from them. Everything you need to grow an indoor garden is included in the waterproof bag, seeds, soil, moisture retention beads everything. All you have to do is scatter the seeds in the bag, water and place in a sunny spot inside!

The winner will get their choice of a vegtable/fruit, flower, or herb garden in a bag. I will announce the winner for my 51st post (lets say sometime around March 6th).

To enter:

Comment on this post (1 entry)
Follow this blog (2 entrys if you were a follower before the giveaway 3 entrys)
Write a post on your blog about this blog (3 entrys)

You have a total of six entrys possible (7 if you were already a follower)!

Good Luck and bring on spring!

New Feature Eddie Ross Mid-Week Update!

I think we all know that I absolutely adore Eddie Ross. I posted HERE last week announcing the arrival of his new store what I did not mention was that Eddie will be updating his store every Wednesday perusing through Eddie's wonderful collection always inspires me... so every week I will post a few pictures from the updated store.

Welcome to the first ever installment of the Eddie Ross Mid-Week Update!

I love these candlesticks How very Italian and wonderful for an outdoor dinner party!

I mentioned previously that I adore his milk glass collection and this compote stole my heart I would love to feature it with some green apples in the spring.

I think a stunning dressing table or vanity is a must for every woman to start her day. Imagine how much more enjoyable washing one's face would be if one were to pour astringent from these beauties!

I also covet these two cake stands and love it that Eddie is selling them as a set!

Imagine how sweet these would look piled high with the cupcakes you make from the great giveaway over at Sweet Tea Diaries! She's giving away all of these wonderful cup cake accouterments, stop by her blog, say hello and enter the give away!

Follow this link to Eddie Ross' fantastic store!

The Eddie Ross Etsy

~As always the photos are links in this case to Eddie Ross at Etsy and to Sweet Tea Diaries' blog.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Only Me...

I've been motivated to run lately, my thinking is "just get dressed and go for ten minutes, and if after ten minutes it's still as horrible as you think go home."

Usually once I get moving and running through my neighbor hood with my dog Torri (AKA Victoria Anne), I want to stay moving and end up running a half hour or more.

This weekend, the whole plan backfired. I was running and running and listening to my ipod and enjoying myself. I started running through this new-to-me subdivision. At about 20 minutes I decided I would turn around... let me just say the designers of this subdivision belong in the 8th circle of Dante's Inferno... you see every street I turned on to head North (north = home) was a cul-de-sac, but these streets were not marked with the usual cul-de-sac markings. Imagine my surprise upon turning up street after street named things like "such and such Drive" or "ABC road" only to end up at a cul-de-sac and have to turn around.

My ten, turned twenty minute run ended up being over an hour and I ended up running the last 20 minutes in the dark. It was not a pleasant end to an otherwise enjoyable run.

To whomever designed that subdivision you are cruel, cruel individuals. For the common good and courtesy of others please mark your cul-de-sacs with "No Outlet" signage or name them things like "123 Circle" or "courtesy loop" or "roundabout lane." Seriously.... now that we don't use maps anymore are we throwing common signage by the wayside? What are poor lost runners supposed to use to navigate?

A Glimpse of What April's Domino May Have Been...

As many of us know the April issue of Domino always featured 10 designers to watch. Domino shut down so abruptly that they had already taken all the pictures for the issue. These designers had put in countless hours of work preparing and designing the perfect room to be featured on Domino's glossy pages. I don't know who all ten of the designers were going to be, but I do know that Grant K. Gibson was going to be featured.
Since we will be unable to view his layout in Domino, I wanted to connect you to the wonderful interview the San Francisco Chronicle featured, as well as connect you to his wonderful website and blog.

I'm currently in love with this chair he found at an antiques fair in France... it was already sold when he arrived, but what a great eye!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Pitcher of Gin and Tonic...

It's been a rough week at Plenary Palace readers... so I found myself at 10 AM wishing for a pitcher of G & T (gin and tonic of course).

While emailing the above message to a very dear friend of mine, I was reminded of the Ettiqutte Grrls. If you haven't heard of them before, you will thank me that I've informed you now. The Etiquette Grrls emerged in the early 2000's as the ultimate online resource for all things Etiquitely correct and very snarky (I Pick Pretty you would love them!). They have an extensive online archive of their Q and A's which are snarky and hilarious, but the books are a must for any WASPY Prep!

Some highlights from their first book "Things You Need to be Told" are the chapters on "Cosmetics Use and Abuse - What Looks Good on Everyone - What Looks Good on No One," "At The Bar - Is it A Real Drink (the EG's adore G & T's)," "The Thank You Note - Equipment for Letter Writing - What you Should Wear While Writing Letters."

Their second book is deftly named "More Things You Need to be Told," some excellent excerpts are "All Yield to the Ettiquette Volvo - Your Beautiful Automobile and How to Drive it Politely," "Hooray for Hollywood -Films You Need to Watch."

These books are the modern girl's Emily Post, they are pretty, and witty, and always etiquittely correct. If you don't own them yet, you can buy them on The Etiquette Grrls have been out of commission since starting their families in 2004, however their website is still up and functional and it contains all of their past Q & A's as well as links to their many interviews in well renowned publications. The photos of the books are links to where you can buy them on, and the photo at the top of the page is a link to the Etiquette Grrls website.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

All over the place...

I am all over the place today... I've wasted quite a good amount of time at work today, not really accomplishing anything. In the spirit of my lack of focus, this post is a few wonderful bits of randomness! The pictures are links to the websites as always.

For all those of you who have furry friends we've each at some point in time looked at the ugly wire or plastic monstrosity called a "kennel" and wished we could improve upon that design of shear functionality... Well I have found the most wonderfully charming kennel in the world. It belongs to the charming dachshund of Matthew White an interior designer who's apartment was featured in conjunction with his design partner's Frank Webb on the New York Social Diary website. The kennel is designed to match the owner's bed. Both apartments featured in this article are elegant and extravagant, but I fell in love with this little doggie bed.

I am a huge fan of back lit cabinets, although I fear they require much more affinity for shooing away dust bunnies than what I presently possess. Over at Velvet and Linen, interior designer Brook Giametti's blog, she recently gave us a personal tour of her beautiful cottege-esque home. The entire house is very warm and welcoming, but her kitchen cabinets have captured my imagination. They are back light by the window to show of her pink depression glass collection. This is the first time I've seen a glass cabinet placed on a window as the design element and I LOVE it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If you only do one thing today...

If you only visit one online store today, stop by Eddie Ross' new Etsy store and while you're at it drop by his blog. An extra bonus to dropping by the store - everything is $100 or less!

He was a contestant on Top Design and just recently left a post at the Martha Stewart Show. Eddie and his partner have bought a lovely farm house in upstate New York and are making beautiful changes. One of my consistently favorite parts of Eddie's blog are the wonderful things he finds in thrift stores and flea markets, I do wish I had his eye for finding treasures in flea markets.

Well now, I can pretend like I do. Eddie is selling some of his wonderful finds in his Etsy store. Do drop by quickly though because many of his items have already sold. I especially love his milk glass. His personal collection was featured in the November issue of our dear friend Domino.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On the Hunt...

I have a confession...

I adore tote bags. I love them and find them to be remarkably practical and functional and always wonderful. Yet, I only own one true tote (a wonderful pink striped tote featured as part of the Gap (Red) collection the spring of 2007 - this tote was a cheer-me-up-during-dreary-NY-winter purchase and I have adored it since the moment I saw it).

I am considering rewards for achieving the first of my New Year's Resolutions - perhaps I'll post these when I hit that first milestone... one wouldn't want to jinx oneself while on a pattern towards good behavior.

Thus, I am presently on the hunt for a wonderful Tote Bag. I think it's just the type of reward I deserve (the other option is a wonderful bottle of 2004 Chateauneuf-Du-Pape Grenache, Syrah).

These are the ones that have caught my eye thus far:

The ever preppy J.Crew is represented with this pink and navy bag. I love the handle height and the length of the bag (I'm not one for tall rectangular tote bags).

Horchow had a wonderful chartreuse Fleur-De-Lis tote last spring, this spring they are offering the patterned monogram tote. I do love the giraffe and chartreuse, with perhaps a Navy monogram?

Then of course Lacoste makes a wonderful (if overpriced) demonstration in Pink and White.

The final and ever classic LL Bean Tote.

I do wish that Calista Cove weren't on break because I would love to browse wonderfully preppy specimens displayed on the web site.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Drum Roll Please....

Readers it is here! The new blog design courtesy of Cutest Blog on the Block, and with the assistance of a my co-worker!

Today is super busy at work, but I promise I will do a real post before too long!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Never a moment too late....

Good afternoon readers,

As you can see there are changes here at "Plenary Palace." The current blog design is only temporary, but I really wanted to try it out while working towards completion of my new banner.

Here is a sneak peak at what you'll hopefully find here a week from today! I just can't wait!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lightning Does Strike Twice...

Readers I swear it's true, lightning does strike in the same place twice...

I posted here about my inexplicable urge to run. Well last night after work I had a million things to do, but I got home and my feisty, sweet, little muffin (demon) dog was so spunky (naughty), that I really wanted to get her some exercise and the more I looked at her sweet face (covered in crumbs from the loaf of challah she ate off the counter)

I knew I had to take her for a run.

Can you believe it? Twice in a seven day period... before you know it I'll be slvelty as Kate Moss (one can always dream...).

Of course it would be treason to post a picture of Torri-Anne, while not posting a picture of Bailey

or Peno and Cheffie (he's really wearing clothing, I didn't realize how risque this looked... however I'm too lacodasical to find a new picture...)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Day with a Chef

Readers it is once again Valentine's Day a holiday full of mixed skepticism, romanticism, and marketing...

Cheffie of course hates Valentine's Day, as he does most holidays where gift giving is required. He's not cheap he just doesn't like being forced to give a gift, and it shows. His most wonderful, and thoughtful gifts are the ones he gives spontaneously, like the watch he gave me for the ballet, or the charm bracelet he's putting together for me with charms from each place he travels, or the ipod he bought in July when we finished our series of 5 K runs when we first started dating.

I however, adore every holiday that gives me an excuse to give presents! This year I think we have a fantastic plan that will suit each of our gift giving styles.

After working in the restaurant business for years Cheffie and I both know that the holidays when EVERYONE goes out to eat are the days you should avoid going out. Examples of such days are New Years Eve, Valentine's Day, and Mother's Day commonly known as the three busiest days in the restaurant year.

So this year we have put together a fun plan.

Our gift to each other is a wine club membership.

We are not sure which one to join, but here is one we are considering. I've often given a wine club as a gift, and have always thought I'd like to receive one myself. Each month we'll have something fun and new to look forward to and it will serve as a reminder to stop, have a romantic dinner and enjoy each other. Inevitably some months he'll be traveling when the wine arrives, which means that it will give us something to share together when he returns.

The second part of our Valentine's Day plans is food, rather than going somewhere and being served we are going to serve food at a local soup kitchen. This is something that Cheffie and I have always wanted to do together but we haven't ever made the time. So this is what I asked Cheffie to do with me this year for Valentine's Day. I am so excited to work alongside Cheffie to meet the needs of someone else.... and lets be honest I'm always excited for good wine!

What is everyone else doing for the pseudo-holiday?

Australian Fire Victims

I'm sure each of us is aware of the wildfires sweeping through Australia. I grew up in Wyoming and I know how devastating wildfires can be, as the west burns every summer.

Please don't feel obligated or pressured, but I saw this picture (taken from and it just broke my heart...
Therefor I am posting about how to help the wildfire victims. The best resource to help I've found so far is the Red Cross. They currently have a call out for donations. They are not taking any percentage of your donation for administration costs all of it will go to helping Australians re-build their lives, homes, and towns.

Today as you drive around your community imagine the total sense of loss, hopelessness and devastation you would feel if everything was burned to the ground. Entire towns in Australia have been lost due to these fires, and well over 200 lives have been claimed. If you feel led to give you can do so here at the Australian Red Cross website. Even if it's only a few dollars every bit helps!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Blog Respite for Domino Withdrawal...

As I've already posted here Domino magazine has met it's untimely end, so imagine my delight and surprise when i stumbled across Nick Olsen's blog! Nick used to blog for Domino under the name "Deal Hunter."

I am delighted that in this post Domino world Nick is still going to enlighten us with his wonderful design style! Trot on over and become a follower of this great blog immediately!

"You know those days when you get the mean reds?"

"Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Paul Varjak: Sure.

Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that'd make me feel like Tiffany's, then - then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name! "

Oh dear readers, today I am in the foulest of foul moods, and to make it worse I am ornery for no reason at all! It's raining in Austin, and I love the rain. My spring bulbs are breaking through the surface of my flower beds, and the view from my 27th floor office window is cloudy, and rainy and sufficiently stunning and of course Monday is flower delivery day, which means my darling florist will bring in a chic and stunning bouquet to grace my desk for the rest of the week. But nothing can be said or done to elevate my mood, I am in need of the perfect momentary escape... something like Tiffany's in which to sit, and breath, and watch the world at work around me knowing that everything is just as it should be!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

We Weep for Domino Tears Acknowledged by the New York Times

By now the end of Domino is old news... However, I found this article in the New York Times insightful as to the end of Domino and encouraging in that print media is recognizing the hole left by Domino. Hopefully, in the near future something wonderful will pop up to inspire us the same way Domino did.

6:50 AM...

Dear Blog Friends,

The most miraculous thing occurred today at 6:50 AM. I lay in bed wide awake longing, yearning to go for a run. Yearning for a run at 6:50AM, this non morning person certainly needs some sort of mental check up. But alas, the urge was so strong and persistent that I crawled out of the warm sanctuary of my covers, laced on some running shoes and hit the trail. This is the trail I ran crossing Congress bridge, it wasn't quite this green, but it was still stunning. A true reminder of why I love Austin so much, why I love running so much, and why in my college days I preferred early morning classes to evening classes. The day smells so fresh and new in the morning. Although I only ran a few miles I certainly feel like I've climbed Mt. Everest already today.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Just in time for valentine's day....

Blue Eyed Bride is hosting the perfect giveaway just in time for Valentine's Day.... Hanky Panky's! Every one I know who has a pair of these adores them, so enter the giveaway and win yourself some panty love!

This photo was borrowed from Blue Eyed Bride's blog