Friday, February 17, 2017

Take Me Away: The Refinery Hotel

The Refinery Hotel is hands down one of my favorite places to visit in Manhattan.  When I previously lived in Houston, I stayed at The Refinery once when weekending in New York and loved the entire experience.  First of all, their pricing is very competitive when compared to most of Manhattan's other high-end hotels.  Also, the rooms are beautiful (I can't get over the bathroom finishes) and the beds are insanely comfortable.  The hotel is located in midtown at 38th and 6th Avenue, making it a convenient happy hour spot for New York locals:


I'm always pulling friends to the Refinery's downstairs restaurant and bar, Parker & Quinnas well as the Refinery Rooftop.  Last weekend, I had a friend in town and I thought it'd be fun for us to grab a drink at their third bar, Winnie's Jazz Bar, because I had yet to check it out.  It sits right across from the lobby, and when you walk in to the lounge you first see the gorgeous, well-lit bar:


One you walk past the bar, several cozy seating areas are tucked away and illuminated by candlelight. When we visited, the live jazz band made our experience extra intimate and fun.  The jazz singer took a liking to one of the girls I was with and basically serenaded her for a few of his songs!  The drinks were delish, too. Their menu features a well-edited list of cocktails like the Struggle Buggy: Mezcal, anis, honey, ginger, tamarind, and pineapple.  


Also popular is the Refinery's Rooftop bar.  During the summer, the space is open and has a breathtaking view of the Empire State Building and the downtown New York skyline:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sam Loves: 20

Happy Valentine's Day!  In honor of the holiday of love, my inspiration board is full of varying shades of pink.


Sam Loves: 20 (Top to Bottom, Left to Right)

A delightful light pink entryway by Elsie Larson of The Larson House.

The perfect relaxed tee, dressed up just enough to pair with trousers and wear to work:  $35/

I'll never tire of agate accessories.  Kathleen Walsh used agate napkin holders from Kim Seybert for her Orchid Dinner table setting, and I also love this pair of agate bookends: $69/

I'll also never tire of photographs of women smoking.  I love this photograph of beauty Georgia May Jagger, taken by Tim Walker.

A good reading nook is key to creating a cozy house.  Kathryn Ireland decorated this Cape Cod Beach House, which used to be Jackie Kennedy's favorite vacation spot.  

No "Sam Loves" post would be complete without at least 1 pair of statement earrings.  The Barbados Drops, $32, are new from Bauble Bar and combine my love of pom poms with my love of gold details.

A stunning arrangement of florals- I love the mix of hues.  

A puffer jacket in a blush hue?  My winter game just stepped itself up.  This is too good to be true- Topshop Emily Puffer Jacket, $79/

One of my favorite quotes by author Emery Allen, from the book Become.

Have a beautiful day and know that I love you all!  And also, if you're feeling lovey dovey, here's one of my favorite songs for you.  If you're in more of a girl power mood- watch this for old times sake.

XOXO,

Sam

Monday, February 13, 2017

McGrath II's Latest Design Project in Tribeca

One of my favorite design firms to watch is the mother-daughter duo of McGrath II.  I've always been drawn to their highly edited spaces that feel both livable and luxurious.  I feel that they balance incorporating splashes of trendy elements, like the Hinson "splatter" wallpaper in the powder bath below, with timeless pieces that will translate well over the years-   and their recent Tribeca project is no exception:







The apartment featured one long living room space, and the girls felt it was best to break it up in to two separate living spaces- a more casual living room (as shown above) and a formal living room, with lots of seating options:



The custom rug, fabricated by Holland & Sherry, features horizontal stripes that give the illusion that the space is wider than it really is.   The silk wallpaper featured on the back wall by the kitchen is Teal Equinox by Phillip Jeffries.  Slipper chairs are a great seating option for tight spaces because the seat width is small while still remaining comfortable, and there are no arms to take up additional space.  

Connected to the long living room is the open kitchen.  McGrath picked Benjamin Moore's Cliffside Gray as the cabinetry paint color, and the hardware is from Colonial Bronze.  I love that McGrath chose glass fronts for a few of the upper cabinets, so that pretty dish ware could be displayed:


The master bedroom has a soft sage green throughout the space that creates a soothing effect.  The wallpaper was created in a custom shade from Farrow & Ball, and the club chairs were done in a custom Quadrille toile pattern.  I love the Swedish dresser most, though:


Bed linens are by Matouk:


The calming tones continue in to the master bathroom, which feature fittings and a custom mosaic floor by Waterworks.  The stool is from Ballard Designs (my fave)!


No boring, forgotten guest rooms in this house!  The guest bedroom is jazzed up with Quadrille's Abre de Matisse wallpaper and a punchy orange headboard.  The side table is by Chelsea Editions:  


The kid's room includes pretty pink touches, like the leading edge trim on the draperies, the bedside table lamp, and the Serena & Lily Gobi sheets.  The framed watercolor is by Kim McCarty:




See more lovely McGrath II design projects here, and buy their best-selling book here

Happy (early) Valentine's Day to all my loves. 


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Essentials for Unwinding

Today it is blizzarding in Manhattan, and as I watch from my window it actually looks very peaceful.  Something about seeing snow fall while you're inside and warm is lovely.  Also, barely anyone is out on the streets today, making the city feel uncharacteristically calm.  Today is a great day for an at-home spa day, so I wanted to share my favorite products with you as well as the steps I plan to take to unwind this evening.


Step 1: Revitalize Skin with a Mask: I swear by My Beauty Diary Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Mask.  $13 dollars gets you 10 masks- not only are they relaxing, but you can see a visible difference in your skin afterwards.  My Houston friend Kathleen Jennings also loves these guys, and did a detailed review here.

Step 2: Soothe Eyes: I swear by La Mer's Illuminating Eye Gel.  This guy can actually be applied before eye shadow too, but I like to use it at night.  After a long day of staring at my computer screen, the gel soothes and replenishes my eyes without feeling as heavy as an eye cream (and who wants milia?)  It also brightens and illuminates tired-looking eyes with Miracle Broth.

Step 3: Lather on Body Butter:  I've raved before about my love for AERIN's line of body creams- the lotion is thick and luxurious, and feels amazing on dry skin.  My favorite scents are the Ikat Jasmine and the Gardenia Rattan.  I've also been meaning to try the Rose de Grasse cream.

Step 4: Light a Few Candles:  Jo Malone's Pomegranate Noir candle is the perfect scent for winter and one of my candle staples.  The fragrance is light, crisp, and layered, and lasts forever.  There's a reason it has 12 5 star reviews on Nordstrom!  I also love this, this, and this.

Step 5: Lounge in Style:  Giselle Shorty Pajamas by Eberjay are the softest PJ set I've ever owned.  I got them for Christmas and haven't really been able to take them off since.  I've seen other bloggers rave about them too, so I know I'm not alone in my sentiments.  I'd love to have the long-sleeved set today, too!

Step 6: Wrap up in a Throw: West Elm's  Faux-fur Ombre Throw sits at the end of my bed, and I love curling up with it when I go to sleep.  It's so soft and cozy.

Step 7:  Read a Good Book:  I'm excited to start reading The Princess Diarist, written by Carrie Fischer about her experience working on the set of the first Star Wars movie.  I also still need to read this book

Stay warm, everyone!

XOXO,

Sam


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ballard Designs Wins Again

One of the first home decor + furniture websites I discovered when I was younger and decorating my first apartment was Ballard Designs.   Although I probably get about 50 home design catalogs in the mail a month, I throw all of them immediately in to recycling- except for Ballard's.  I feel it is one retail website that not only manages to stay ahead of emerging design trends, but also provides endless customization options for many pieces.  As a designer, this is ideal because you're able to put your own twist on a piece while keeping the overall price point down for your client.  Also, most retail furniture companies (think West ElmCrate & Barrel, etc) don't allow you to send in your own fabric, but Ballard Designs offers most of their upholstery pieces in COM ("customers own material").  Last night, I was flipping through my latest Ballard catalog, and was nearly giddy with all their new offerings, like this Milo Baughman-inspired Robbie Upholstered Chair:


Or the Amal Slipper Chair, shown below.  You can customize this piece by choosing a different fabric for the lumbar pillow and a different fabric for the welt:

And a few more pieces I think are fab...






Another piece that has been in their collection for a while but is worth revisiting is the Felicity Acrylic Coffee Table:


Ballard released a tabletop collection with Bunny Williams back in 2014, and I discovered when looking at their website last night that Bunny also designed a few furniture pieces for them, like this screen:


And how cute is this brass pineapple ice bucket?




Happy Shopping, guys.

*This post is not sponsored by Ballard Designs, & all opinions are 100% my own!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Travel Guide: Miami

One great thing about working in the design industry is that most firms and companies stay closed between Christmas and New Years, allowing everyone to take an extended vacation.  This year I took advantage of my time off after Christmas by visiting friends in Houston, spending New Years in Nashville, and finishing with a few days in Miami before heading home to New York.  My college bestie Grace met me in Miami on New Years Day, and we checked in to the Loews Hotel on South Beach. We had traveled to Miami together 7 years ago to see OU play in the Orange Bowl, but hadn't been back since.  It was so fun to rediscover the city and relax on the beach before heading back home to face reality.  To recap our experience and share my favorite spots with you, I've compiled a Miami travel guide below!




Tuesday, January 31, 2017

10 Great Buys for February

This time of year can be difficult when it comes to my personal style.  Freezing temperatures combined with short days leaves me feeling uninspired, and I fight the urge to live in my puffer jacket underneath my duvet.  I find it's so important for me this time of year to find pleasure and delight in the small things- like a bold nail design, a quick weekend getaway, or a great book to devour.  If sprucing up your wardrobe with a smart buy brings you a bit of joy, I've rounded up 10 items I love (and think you will, too):

1.) Low maintainence, comfortable, and cute:  Easy Care Long-Sleeve Flounce Top, $88:




2.) Mules are the perfect shoe to transition in to the spring.  I love Frye's Gwen Perforated Mules, $198 (and an option under $100):


3.) Step outside the box and add femininity to your winter uniform with Anthropologie's Edmond Trench, $168:


4.) Socialite Crisscross Front Dress, $29.40 (also still loving this little red dress):


5.) This new "it" handbag, $128, comes in a variety of colors and can be monogrammed (and here's an alternative under $100):


6.) Buy yourself something that will help you look forward to spring- like this adorable Solenne Tiered Blouse, $88:




7.) No company creates better cigarette pants than Old Navy.  I love this Relaxed Mid-Rise Harper Trouser, only $17:



8.) Still my favorite jacket of the season, and a classic design that will remain timeless for winters to come- J. Crew's Chateau Parka in Stadium-Cloth, $365:


9.) I love Need Supply's chic blouses.  Their Tie Top in Black, $135, and Jayne Wrap Top, $78, are my favorites:


10.) Tired of wearing your beanie yet?  Try switching it up with a more stylish option, like the Reinette in Loden Hat, $149:

Happy Shopping!






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