Beautiful Life and Style


A Modern Thanksgiving Table

My favorite holiday is almost here! I am very excited for Thanksgiving this year because I will be spending all of next week home with my family. I don’t think I’ve had the luxury of a full week there since college!! I am already dreaming about our feast: new recipes to try, new drinks to mix up and OF COURSE a fresh new way to style the table. While last year my ideas were all about different color combinations- this year I am thinking more simple. Black, white, brown, gold. I want it to feel textural and rustic yet still edgy and modern. Of course I took to pinterest for some inspiration:

Feathers and Sage Place Setting

Black white Gold Brown

feather centerpiece


turkey pinecone placecard

White Pumpkins

This is how I am envisioning pulling it all together:

Thanksgiving Table

How will you be setting the table?


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Museum Monday: John Singer Sargent Watercolors

I am always reading about interesting art exhibits around the world, and while I hardly have the time or budget to visit them all, I have decided to do a series of posts highlighting them here. Maybe you will have the opportunity to visit and report back on these “Museum Mondays” so I may live vicariously through you! For this first week though, I thought I’d start with the City that I live in, and one of the largest exhibits this fall- John Singer Sargent’s Watercolors.

I don’t know where my passion for art museums came from. One of the earliest museum memories I have is of course, visiting the MET as a kid with my school on one of our yearly field-trips. The book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was also one of my favorite reads in third grade (can you imagine living in a museum!?) But I think my enthusiasm really solidified when my parents took us to see the John Singer Sargent oils exhibit at the MFA way back in 1999 (don’t I feel old!) It was a big deal, and the first modern retrospective for the artist- and how fitting that it was in the City of Boston, his American home and at the Museum so closely tied to his history- he after all painted the murals on the ceiling there! Either way, I remember driving up from New York and experiencing masterpieces such as The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose and Fumee d’Ambre Gris which to this day, remain some of my favorite paintings. In fact, when I visited London 4 years later, I INSISTED to my Aunt that we visit the Tate just so I could see “Carnation” in person again. So imagine my delight when I learned that once again the MFA would be doing a collection of Sargent’s works, and this time specifically, his amazing watercolors.

When Sargent began painting in watercolor, he was already a well established portrait artist. Everyone can agree he had mastered the art of oil painting and it is suggested that he was becoming flat out bored. He needed a change of medium, and he craved to take his easel out in the field and around the world. Which is exactly what he did: traveling to deserts of Syria and the canals of Venice. However, while anyone who saw them gave the paintings glowing reviews, Sargent largely considered these watercolors to be for himself, they gave him great pleasure and they were NOT FOR SALE.

The Bridge of Sighs

His friend from Boston, Mr Edward Darley Boit (yes, the one with the daughters), insisted that he consider putting the pieces in an exhibit and selling- and Sargent agreed – but ONLY if the works were sold as a collection. I get the impression Sargent hoped the works would land at the MFA, but in a twist, the Brooklyn Museum won the collection of 83 works. Sargent was soon certain that the patrons in Boston, realizing they had missed out, would also want a watercolor collection of their own. So of course, for this second round, he spent more effort creating each one- a little less of a “study in watercolor” and instead more standalone pieces of art. The pieces were larger and most of them were signed. In the end, the MFA acquired the collection of 45. This current exhibit brings the paintings from both collections back together in one place. It is interesting to compare and contrast!

Villa di Marlia, Lucca- A Fountain

Sargent’s watercolor painting are very unique in the way they are created. In fact, there is a video playing at the exhibit where an artist tries to recreate one of the paintings- it was incredible to see how she had to work to achieve the lightness of the brushstrokes while at the same time creating such dark opaque colors.


What else makes these watercolors special? Well at the end of the day, they are still very Sargent. It has been said, that NO artist has been quite able to capture white the way that he was. Take his work “Reading” as an example. The whites in her dress are not pure white brushstrokes, but also grays and blues and yellows and even the slightest tint of green reflecting from her parasol. There is also an entire room of watercolors capturing the carrara marble quarries in Italy. The immense stones are cast in 1000s of shades of white and gray.


Carrara- Lizzatori I

John Singer Sargent Watercolors is running now through January 20th at the MFA- and I have a membership if you are looking for a tour guide! Nick and I attended the opening for this exhibit so I can say firsthand how magnificent it is. I hope you have the opportunity to visit. (And if you are wondering, yes- it wasn’t by accident that I chose to wear a watercolor print dress)

us at opening

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My Favorite Fall Hue: Wine

Do you have a favorite color, the kind that when you see anything made in that hue, the color alone makes you immediately fall in love and NEED to buy? In the summer, I have a strong urge to buy anything lime/neon green and in the fall/winter I am incredibly drawn to anything wine colored. The color is so rich and pleasing- and lucky for me, many designers seem to agree. You can pair it with almost anything: wine paired with black is exceptionally dramatic, mixing it up with a camel more on the traditional side, while a neon lavender makes for a trendy contrast and a white crisp shirt with those cords? I mean, how can you not fall in love?? Also- how happy are we that the peplum trend continues to be here to stay?

My favorite fall color

So whether you call it cabernet, plum, oxblood- its one of my favorites and I’ll be hunting more items down all season long! What is your favorite fall fashion color???

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Easy Entertaining: An Outdoor Fall Gathering

On the theme of Wednesday’s post, I thought I would extend the idea of an intimate outdoor gathering to today’s “Easy Entertaining”. Invite over a few friends, set the scene with a fire and a few decorations, and add a few tasty nibbles to the mix. Oh, and don’t forget the perfect bottle of wine!

outdoor fall party

1.  The folks at Kinfolk recently released this cookbook promoting their mantra of putting emphasis on the relationships that surround eating rather than a long complex menu. It sounds like a delightful idea- keep things easy and focus on spending time with good company!! I”m very curious to see what recipes are included in the book. Stay tuned for a full report!

2. In love with these delicate yet rustic tin votives

3. Campfire Popcorn!!!! Make sure to add a little salt and sugar just after popping!

4. I’ve had my eye on a chalkboard cheeseboard for sometime now. Great look, and also saves you the effort of explaining cheeses all night to guests.

5. The Prisoner is one of my favorite red wines, blending Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Syrah and Grenache. It features flavors of cherry, espresso and roasted fig which I think sounds perfect for a fall setting.

6. If you are going to make your friends sit outside all night, it’s essential that you have a good stack of blankets on hand to keep everyone warm!

7. See #6. The fire is also key.

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Embracing Fall

As hesitant as I may be to admit this, Fall is starting to capture my heart again. In New England, with the crisp air and the changing leaves, its hard to not feel the season. Fall is cool and cozy and magical. I think these photos sum it up.

Embracing FallRiverhot air balloon

And this. Can you imagine? It never dawned on me to host a dinner party outside when the temps aren’t getting above 60, but even though it sounds chilly- it looks so warm.

Outdoor Fall Table

Now this party is all I can think about (the fact that I don’t have a backyard being a minor detail). A simple gathering with close friends, delicious food and all the sentiments of Autumn is exactly what we need. Bonfire required. Wouldn’t you agree?

Fall Feast

Fall Feast2