Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My 5 Favorite Buys of 2017

I'm a big proponent of the motto "Buy less, choose well."  I don't shop very often, which made composing this list both very hard and very easy.   I mainly spend my "fun" money on dinners out, weekends away, or new books.  But today, I wanted to share my 5 favorite fashion buys of 2017 thus far.   You can trust me when I say I really do love the hell out of the 5 following items. 

I was introduced to my first pair of sparkly Supergas through my aunt Jennifer (who owns Cakewalk Style Shop in Houston, TX) a few years ago.  I find that these sneakers are versatile enough for casual work days, running errands in on the weekends, and work well with rolled jeans and a tank. I love the beigey-gray color, too:

I've been secretly praying that chokers would become a "thing" again since I was 12.  Now that they are finally back, I've purchased a few different inexpensive chokers online only to sadly return them.  The one version I adore and think you will too is by BaubleBar, of course.  The Lariat Choker (only $21.60 right now) has two gold tassels at each end that can hang loose or be tied in a cute bow.   I wear this baby everywhere!

Also known as, the world's most flattering bikini.  My go-to for swimsuits always has been and always will be good ol' Tar-jay.  They have a million styles to choose from, you can conveniently try on each bikini, and they are all fairly inexpensive.  A win-win-win!  I found this crochet two-piece at a Target in Indianapolis when I was freelancing for HGTV in March, and finally got to wear it out to the Hamptons this past weekend.  The adjustable straps and ties are forgiving and the push up is a nice little perk (pun definitely intended).

If army green isn't your thing, they also sell this bikini in black: Top & Bottom.

I am fairly certain I've included this PJ set in a "best buys" post before, but even so, I can't miss an opportunity to rave about them again.  I was gifted this set at Christmas and I feel like I haven't taken them off since.  The material is so soft it nearly feels like silk, even though it's a durable rayon/polyester mix.  I have the navy set but after browsing through the Eberjay website to prepare for this post, I realize I now need this gray version with chartreuse piping:

5.)  Frida Tote by Lumi, $139.95 

The Frida tote in lime green has become my official bag of summer.  It carries everything, has short handles or long shoulder straps, and is such a fun color.  I attached a floral scarf keychain to mine:

{also pictured is my favorite bag of all time- the YSL sac du jour}

And 3 things on my wishlist that are under $23 - these pretties, this, and this.  And if you love the matching top and bottom look as much as me, you'll probably love this too.

Happy Hump Day!



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

House Happiness in Houston

When I flip through the monthly shelter mags I subscribe to, I always perk up a bit when I see details of a Houston home.  As most of you know, I lived in Houston for five years before relocating to Manhattan, and the design industry there is still very near and dear to my heart.  It goes without saying, then, that I was thrilled to see a bright and beautiful Houston residence featured in this month's House Beautiful designed by Celerie Kemble and her former associate, Lindsey Herod.   One great thing about many of the classic homes in Houston is that they were designed with individual, defined rooms rather than a wide, open floor plan.  This means that each room can take on it's own individual personality without worrying too much about making the room's design work perfectly with the adjoining rooms.  The key is to find one or two small elements or patterns to continue throughout the home to create a subtle flow and continuity.  In this house, the connecting element appears to be botanicals.  The sitting room, featuring a custom wallcovering from Fromental, feels bright and ethereal: 

And I can't help but love a good bullion fringe on the base of a sofa.  It's so feminine and flirtatious. 

In the back entry, a chartreuse tufted banquette is tucked underneath the house's staircase, perfect for perching with a book or sorting the mail right after walking in the home:

The light and airy vibe from the entry and sitting room is juxtaposed with a much more dramatic dining room. Lindsey and Celerie wanted to be sure and utilize their client's current antiques in to the house's new design, so they incorporated a few of the pieces in this space.  The homeowners like to throw dinner parties, so a moody palette of raisin purples, charcoals, and a gorgeous red marble mantle create a luxurious environment for guests.   I love the Schumacher curtains especially:

The expansive living room paint color at first felt a bit jarring- but the girls coaxed their clients to trust them with the color decision.  Sure enough, once the furniture was in place and the rug spread, the custom green paint color infused colorful life in to the space. 

The most ingenious element of the home is the headboard design in the lavender guest room.  Celerie feels that walking in to a bedroom and seeing the side of a bed isn't ideal- and she really wanted the bed in this room to be the focal point.  However, a round window on the opposite wall of the entry made it difficult to build a bed around, and they weren't about to block the room's light source.   Their solution was to work with their upholsterer to give the window a headboard "hat":

Genius, ladies.  The master bath is glamorous with mirrored cabinet fronts and a clear shower enclosure.

And who couldn't love a canopied master bed?

McKinnon & Harris outdoor furniture makes the backyard feel just as chic as the interior:

{see more details on this story in the May issue of House Beautiful, or here on their website}

Monday, May 22, 2017

Kips Bay Decorator's Showhouse 2017 - 2nd Floor

Happy Monday to all!  Anyone else counting down the days til Memorial Day Weekend?  I am heading out east Friday and can't wait to be on the beach.  This summer I am part of a share house in East Hampton with 6 other girlfriends.  We'll be spending our weekends out there from Memorial Day through July 4th.  It's such a nice escape from the craziness of the city!  I bought this, this, and this in preparation for pool lounging.    Anyways- back to city life!  Today I am excited to share the 2nd floor of this year's Kips Bay Decorator Show House.   The Show House is located here in New York at 125 East 65th Street and is open through next Thursday, June 1.  Tickets to view the show house are $40, and the ticket proceeds benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.  If you haven't visited yet, go go go!

The two-story grand staircase and landing on the second floor is designed by Jonathan Savage.  The beautiful wallcovering looks like wallpaper, but it's actually hand-applied with plaster motifs!  When you view the wallpaper up close, you can see how intricate the designs are.  It's a show-stopper:

This small seating area at the top of the stairs leads to Kirsten Kelli's drawing room.  I love the corded lampshade by the sofa- it's such a divine detail!

The drawing room just to your left of Savage's seating nook is designed by the dynamic duo Kirsten Kelli.  Personally, this room was my absolute favorite in the entire house.  The space included bold, saturated colors throughout and the proportions were perfect.  Plus, the ART!  It was to die for.  Here's a view of the left side of the room:

A purple velvet sofa by De Angelis, LTD sits next to a coffee table that is an edition of Yves Klein's Table Bleu.  Gilded logs rest against the fireplace while a flirty Lichtenstein hangs above the mantle.  The wallpaper is a wood veneer pattern from Phillip Jeffries

The right side of the room opens to another inviting seating arrangement with bold artwork and fun patterns:

Corinne Bizzle's abstract blue painting hangs about the sofa, while the diamond piece is by Kurt Pio:

This corner of the room displays artwork from Ellsworth Kelly and Damien Hirst (and I have wanted that Mario Testino coffee table book forever):

Across the hall from Kirsten Kelli's drawing room is Ken Fulk's Madame's Magical Menagerie:

Ken Falk designed his room around a fictitious client, "Madame F."  The setting of the space is a magical dinner party inside Madame's Upper East Dining Room.  Outside, Madame's garden is secretly filled with wayward zoo animals (hence, her "Menagerie").  The animals are depicted within the de Gournay wallpaper that surrounds Ken's room.  Each table is set with extraordinary florals, the finest Hermes china, and custom embroidered napkins:

A peek in to Madame's closet with endless shelves of dishware and serveware:

Dying to see more of the house this instant?  Click here to see my tour of the 4th floor, and here to see my tour of the 3rd floor.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sam Loves: 22

Yesterday it hit the 90s in New York and today it looks like more of the same!  Nothing puts me in a better mood than sunshine and warm weather.  Why did I live Texas, again?  Oh yeah... because now I live 10 minutes from the steps of the Met.  #tradeoffs. For my 22nd edition of "Sam Loves", I'm sharing all kinds of happy, vibrant touches...

Sam Loves: 22 (Top to Bottom, Left to Right)

Ever since I discovered Mark Shaw's photographs at Liz O'Brien in New York, I've been set on purchasing one.  I love his "Fabiani Bag Dress Outside Harry's Bar" from 1957.

Get the Annie Costello Brown look for less with these Fringed Spoon Drop Earrings from Anthropologie (these are cute too!)

I really can't say enough good things about this product.  I'm smitten.

This Dawn Wolfe piece reminds me of a Damien Hirst. 

Loeffer Randall's latest shoe releases are killing. it. This strappy pair is the perfect heel height and these feel like the perfect 70s throwback.  And how great is this?!

How to Be a Party Girl - in case you've always wondered.

Love the carefree vibe of Blair's look in her Cartagena, Columbia outfit post - similar dress here, similar handbag here.  And who can braid my hair like that?!

Nordstrom has some casual dresses under $30 right now-  love this, this, and this. It'd leave room to splurge on a cute $98 beach bag.



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Free Books Up for Grabs

I've read so many good books over the past year and I don't want to keep them to myself!  It pains me to think of them sitting under my bed collecting dust.  I'd love to pass on the following books to whomever would like them.  I just ask that you Venmo me the USPS shipping cost and I'll get them out your way!  First come, first served.  Just email me at sam (dot) e (dot) penner (at) gmail (dot) com.  Cool?

1.) Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Book Description from Amazon:

Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

2.) Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen 

Book Description from Amazon:

In this irresistible memoir, Anna Quindlen writes about a woman’s life, from childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, using the events of her life to illuminate ours. Considering—and celebrating—everything from marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, parenting, faith, loss, to all the stuff in our closets, and more, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen uses her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages. Quindlen talks about
Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”
Girlfriends: “Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends. ”
Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come.”
Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”
Candid, funny, and moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.

3.)  Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow 

Book Description from Amazon:

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

4.) You'll Grow out of It by Jessi Klein

Book Description from Amazon:

As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian Jessi Klein grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of modern femininity.

In YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her "transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man," attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called "ma'am" and "miss" ("Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds").

Raw, relatable, and consistently hilarious, YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT is a one-of-a-kind book by a singular and irresistible comic voice.

5.)  Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Book Description from Amazon:

In illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world.
Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. 

Lab Girl
 is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. 

Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.

6.) #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso  

Book Description from Amazon:

The first thing Sophia Amoruso sold online wasn't fashion - it was a stolen book. She spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and dumpster diving. By age twenty-two, she had resigned herself to employment, but was still broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school--a job she'd taken for the health insurance. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay. Flash forward eight years to today, and she's the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million online fashion retailer with over 350 employees. Sophia's never been a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she's written #GIRLBOSS for girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, evenwhen that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers.

Lastly, here are the titles of a few others I'm not selling because they are TOO GOOD and I can't part with them- but I highly recommend you buy them for your own personal collection:

Email me (email at top of post) if you'd like one of these books!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Currently Coveting: Chartreuse

Spring has me feelin' some type of way, and I'm literally counting down the days to Hamptons beach weather here in New York.   I've been on a bright, poppy color kick and a few designer windows from this year's LCDQ Legends event have me feeling inspired by chartreuse.  One of the big events in the US design community, La Cienega Design Quarter's ("LCDQ") Legends event each spring is a 3-day celebration that brings together some of the country's most sought-after designers, bloggers, and tastemakers to discuss and celebrate the state of the industry and where design is headed.   One key component of the event is the LCDQ windows.  Galleries, showrooms, and decor shops that are part of the LCDQ community partner with a designer who transforms their store window for the event.  This year, my favorites were Betsy Burnham's window at Serena & Lily (you can see it below in my moodboard) and Nick Olsen's window at Harbinger:

Chartreuse got it's name after a French liquor called "green chartreuse" was introduced in 1764.  The liqueur resembles a mix of yellow and green:

It's such a mood-brightening color, and I love seeing it in interiors:

The headboard of Lindsay Coral Harper's Upper East Side bedroom is a lovely silk chartreuse:

Kelly Wearstler designed Bergdorf Goodman's restaurant with lush lime-y chartreuse leather chairs.  This spot is one of my favorites (I celebrated my big 2-8 here the year before last!)

These chartreuse lamps in Amanda Nisbet's living room were a family heirloom passed down from her parents- and their divine:

Here's my mood board of all my favorite fabulous chartreuse things- including a photo of the Betsy Burnham LCDQ window that I love so much:

Currently Coveting (Top to Bottom, Left to Right):

Looped Lucite Clip-On Earrings, $48

Provenza Schüler Perforated Leather Bucket Bag, $573

Melissa Chandelier by Stray Dog Designs, $950

Loving the floral dress + white sunnies Emili Sindlev is sporting here.

Cynthia Rowley Scalloped Bikini, $120

Have a great week!



Thursday, May 11, 2017


{Just Cavalli Runway}

Wisteria Disappearing Coffee Table (recently marked down!):

Guanaco Clear Panel Ballerina Flats:

"I think we need stories... and we need to tell the stories over and over and over not only to remind us, but also to be able to have that clarity of experience that changes us- so that we know who we are now because of who we have been at some other time." - Colum McCann

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