Ode to More than a Piece of Luggage

This weekend I visited NYC to take in Hamilton, listen to some Jazz at the Blue Note, eat some good food, and generally enjoy Manhattan in the not so springy springtime.  My suitcase did not join me for the trip.  Somewhere between the vestibule and the trunk it went its own way – ending our association.

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Kate Spade for Streamline Luggage

I said it was fine, that its just a material thing, not my good health, or the loss of someone you love, or something truly tragic like living in the middle of the country and not being able to smell the salt in the air, and take a dip in the ocean, where truly all your ailments seem to vanish away.  Nothing that catastrophic, and still it’s left me a little melancholy.

Dallas . TX Top at Blue Print Store.  Bottom Left:  Cape Cod, Middle:  Farmhouse Pottery, Woodstock. VT, Right:  Hermes Pop-up . Nashville . TN

My Kate Spade for Steamline Carry-on had been a lot of places with me.  I bought it just after I sold my first home – that was three homes ago, and at least a half dozen rentals.  It had been to Paris three times, to the South of France, to Venice, Croatia, Bosnia, Switzerland, and Costa Rica.  It had been to Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, New York, DC, Illinois, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and probably a few states in between.

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The Club Car. Nantucket . MA

It was my constant Cape Cod companion, and adored Nantucket though it pretended to have no favorite.

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J’adore . Dior . Paris . France – Les Arts Decoratifs

Perhaps it grew tired of never be fully unpacked – not being allowed to breath.  Maybe it had some bad jeu-jeu like this rash that won’t seem to leave me alone.  Maybe I should consider it a ritualistic cleansing?  Do you suppose the same could be true of my adorable little Chanel booties – the ones that could carry me at a fast pace trot through the city with nary a complaint from me or the boot.  And what of my leather pants, and my beloved faux fir Gucci knock off slippers from Target?  What about them?

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Croatia.

That’s enough now – it’s enough.

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Water Taxi to Splendid Hotel . Venice . Italy – my Steamline was right beside me.

I had a beautiful weekend – even if I did have to wear the same clothes the whole time.  Sometimes you’ve just got to call a Spade a Spade – I’ll carry on….wink, wink.  See, I still have my sense of humor.  I never pack it, it should always be readily available.

Happy Sunday.

Doing Laundry Never Looked So Good: Hermesmatic

HerMAZEing.  Y’all, I’ll let you in on a little secret….”I Love Hermes”.  From belts to bangles, and miles of colorful scarves, I have a thing for the H.  It’s so classically elegant.  The designs so intricately artistic.  The brand so fantastically French it’s no wonder I am mesmerized by the House of Hermes.  Please, please whatever you do – don’t pronounce the H – it’s silent…”ermes”.  It’s tres gauche to make that American mistake.  Now you are in the know.

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Wash and Wear.

One of the things I admire about Hermes is their ability to stay relevant as trends and styles change, and fashion becomes more and more casual.  I remember the first Hermes scarf I purchased in my early 30’s.  I saw Madonna wearing it as a cute halter and I fell for it.  I wore that scarf all summer on Nantucket and felt like my ship had come in.

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Fuchsia over-dye.

Upon my arrival in Nashville, my incredibly chic friend Jennifer Borden announced that Hermes in all its brilliantness had a pop-up in the Green Hills Neighborhood, through this weekend.  Hermesmatic is a laundromat of all things, where one can bring their well worn scarves to be dip dyed in one of three colors of your choosing; fuchsia, violet, or denim blue.  The process is done on site and takes between 24 and 48 hours to dry.  I missed that window but don’t cry for me Argentina because while the dip dying of your own scarves was free for those that arrived on time – you can purchase already dyed scarves, neck and bow ties so there’s that.  Can you see my moratorium on spending sliding out that silky door?

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Branding genius.

Their quintessential color orange is splashed throughout the pop-up.  Washing machines, laundry baskets, logo.  It’s so brilliant it brings a tear to my eye.

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Be prepared to reinvent yourself.

While this is a limited engagement, I would bet you’ll see this service “pop-up” as a regular offering.  It’s too hip not to become an Hermes classic.

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Painfully chic laundress.

In the city that never stops singing – these scarves can carry a tune.

Happy Saturday.

 

Bad Ass Boutique . Thompson . Nashville

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Thompson . Nashville – sorry Nash this is a five star hotel.

To be clear, I am generally speaking, a hotel lover.  I like watching people, imagining where they are from, what brought them to this place, and the delicious thought that others are toiling away – while you are not.  I love them so much, I spend a good deal of time in them, in the various neighborhoods in my own home town.  Lap top, mobile, note pad, it’s as good an office as any old place, and I find that the general buzz is a welcome and impressive noise.  So there you have it.  Hotels are my jam.

Tyler and Lauren stand under the lights . Design – Parts and Labor . NYC

But…Thompson Nashville is the jammiest of jams – high tea at the Ritz with crumpets and clotted cream without any of the formality that comes with a British accent.  The Southern twang is served up with a 40 ounce Rosé wrapped in a paper bag.  Don’t laugh, you’ll be pleading for more of this porch pounder before the last live song is sung for the evening.

The prettiest 40 I ever did see.

21st century lighting in mid-century costume.

It goes without saying that a place as hip as Nash, and Thompson would not disappoint with the design.  San Fransisco based Two Roads Hospitality, the owners of the Thompson Brand opened their newest, 12 Story, 224 room, boutique hotel (one of eight) on 20 October 2016, to rave reviews.  Located in the Gulch Neighborhood, named literally for the narrow, steep-sided ravine which marks the course of a fast stream, arcing through the city’s south side.  The Gulch was previously the site of a very active rail road yard, which brought the majority of the supplies to the city, but became defunct after WWII.

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The Marsh Restaurant at Thompson

Now for those that have been paying close attention to me, you know I love edgy design, and I swoon over lighting, and make all manner of bad decisions when this happens.  Darlin’ we’re all human.  When I tell you that Parts and Labor NYC based design firm combines the sweet and salty scrumptiousness that offers up a veritable explosion for your visual senses, I’m really not doing them justice.  Andrew Cohen and Jeremy Levitt offer up “bespoke, bare-knuckled and straight forward approach to high end design”.  I feel lightheaded.  Brass and glass, texture and layers, pops of color and sophistication, mixed with a little industrial to remind you of the origins of its geographic location.  The chug of the train receding into quiet.  It’s gritty and glamorous all at the same time.  This is Thompson.

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Cane Backed Bench inside a bookcase.  Considering my options.

I didn’t peak into the rooms, but understand the mini-bar dispenses vinal records.  So beyond cool I can’t stand it.  Apparently they provide maps that will guide you to neighboring record stores where you can really score.  Who doesn’t like an adventure.  Stop along the way at any of the restaurants or shops that have found their home inside the re-purposed industrial buildings that line the streets, or make your way back to Thompson’s Marsh House Restaurant, or to its roof top bar where the warm breeze blows, and views of the city are tipped in pink at sunset.

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Relaxing Rooftop

Y’all, I’m preparing to book my October visit.  Don’t wait, the hotel stock is so low in this booming city despite their hyper-track pursuit to bring rooms on line – the lines are outpacing supply.  The Thompson is a sip of perfect whisky in a city where you are the star in the song.  I so love being the star…..

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Rooftop Restaurant

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The final word . wood pendants, capped in silver, surrounded by Crystal … please!

The Skinny on the Tall: Nashville gets a new profile

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Tall and Skinny . Green Hills . Nashville

Driving around the neighborhoods of Nashville, it’s clear that the city is growing.  A friend joked that the state bird was the crane.  Cast your gaze just about anywhere and it will fall on bustling construction sites that speak to the cities growth and prosperity.  Millennials, retirees, and many an enlightened soul, who have grown tired of the congestion, and the cost, and realized that they can trade their outrageously expensive one bed condo in for a four bedroom home, or pay cash for a “tall and skinny”, are packing up the Winnebago and heading south.

Nashville is a “city” with a small “c”.  It’s got traffic, and a few elegant civic buildings, a couple of office towers, and even a stadium or two, granted they are not of the scale of those in NYC, Boston, Oakland or Dallas, but they exist.  It’s neighborhoods have cute names names like: The Gulch, Green Hills, Sobro, Marathon Village, Melrose, and many, many more.  The thing is, it doesn’t really feel like a city.  It feels like a suburb.  There are homes with lawns, and gardens, grass so green it makes your eyes hurt, and trees everywhere, not just in a park.  Hum, who knew.

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Where there was previously just one.

Like any growing city there are issues of densification that haven’t quite been addressed. Questions of infrastructure investment, ugh, and the speed in which they can put up luxury hotels to accommodate musicians, enthusiasts, and the growing tourist population.  Book early or stay home, I cannot imagine is the motto Nashville is hoping to adopt. A few home grown natives feel a little disdainful about the rising property taxes that are forcing their families to move out to “the country”.  I smile as I type this, because Nashville, so feels like the country to me.

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Skinny’s can go for under $600K and be on lots of .03 acres.

I got into a conversation or two with some of these locals, and while they appreciate the growing pains that a city must endure, they are nostalgic for the single story brick Ranches and Bungalow’s of their childhood, and can’t imagine someone wanting to live in one of these narrow homes, where gasp, you can see you neighbor, and barely have a yard.  When I explained to my hair stylists that when I lie in bed, if my shade is up and my neighbor is grilling, I can request he cook my burger medium rare.  That, to me, is city living.

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Getting in on the action.  2 for 1 is profitable.

So here’s the skinny.  Nashville hasn’t quite figured out what their zoning regulations should be all about.  They need the densification to support the growth, and developers are all too happy to buy up the properties that have been part of the existing neighborhoods for decades, tear them down, and build two in their in place.  This happened for years, with a somewhat fuzzy definition of what a Duplex was.  Two homes that share a connector – interesting.  Two homes that share a party wall – common.  More recently new ordinances that demand the properties be separated by 6 feet and be proportionally no taller than 1.5 times the width.  Two homes on a single lot.  The numbers are penciling out for these developers, and they can’t get the land fast enough to meet the demand.

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Varied architectural styles receive mixed reviews.

Not everyone is sold, but I loved them.