Archive for the ‘wine’ Category

Day 20: Red Stitch Wine

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I love it when friends introduce me to great things — and I always try to pass these great things along to others!  Today, I owe Day 20 in the 29 Days of Love series to my friend Tricia Roberts, who introduced me to Red Stitch wine.

Tricia is a Certified Wine Specialist and sommelier, who started Red Stitch with her husband, David, and two other wine-loving couples.

Thanks to their passion for wine, my husband and I were able to enjoy a bottle of this Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with our Valentine’s meal.

If you’re hosting a dinner or just want a good bottle of wine for a special night, you can contact Tricia and the rest of the fabulous team to order a bottle of Red Stitch. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s one of the most delicious Cabs out there!



Wine and Design for Thanksgiving

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One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is our annual afternoon wine tasting.  I am so in anticipation of it that I was inspired to start a new blog series called Wine and Design.  Though they may have been over-exposed a bit, I am still a big fan of Pinot Noir. Here are a few of my favorite pinots paired with a few Fall-hued rooms of the same description…

Kosta Browne’s Amber Ridge Vineyard is a classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, exhibiting rich texture, deep, rich fruits and baking spice.  It’s not unlike this rich and spicy design by Jeffrey Bilhuber.

Paul Hobbs Crossbarn pinot has dark ruby notes with ripe Bing cherry mixed with earth. Stephan Eicker was thinking about both cherry and earth inspirations when designing this dining room.

Frank Family Vineyards’ 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir has aromas that are inviting and abundant including aromas of cranberry-orange relish, strawberry coulis, and wild rose petals then moves into smoked meat, and forest floor. The palate is supple, refined, and multifaceted, beginning with a youthful expression of wild raspberries and cherry candy and then into a mid-palate boasting spiced cake with huckleberry sauce and ripe pomegranates, with a touch of anise throughout. While the impression is concentrated and bold, the tannins are reminiscent of suede, giving a long plush finish.

This rich and handsome description could have been written about the smokey and suede textured space above by Massucco, Warner and Miller Design that also is reminiscent of cranberry, orange, pomegranite and spice with a hint of forest.

Williams Selyem Vista Verde Pinot boasts ripe aromas of wild raspberry, green tea, mocha and spice.  A long sweet finish of boysenberry, wild flowers, minerality and silky-smooth oak help to complete this wine.  This handsome room also by Jeffrey Bilhuber pairs mocha, spice, oak and mineral tones for a cozy result.

David Bruce’s Carneros pinot displays rich dark cherry aromas accented with notes of violets and spice, supported by toast and faint smoke from the barrel. Designer Jay Jeffers had a similar success pairing cherry, violet, spice, toast and smoke in his own home.

I hope you’ll try some of these tasty reds for your Thanksgiving feast this year.  And to see more about Thanksgiving traditions, see my November Travel and Leisure feature.

Making your list and checking it twice!

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Only 14 more shopping days before Christmas!! Here are some of my favorite gift ideas for friends and family and some amazing things I would love for myself!! I am sure you can guess which ones I wish Santa would put under my tree. 

Tobi’s 2008 Gift Guide

Gifts under $50.00

Wine Lable Remover kit $12.00 from Amazon.  I think these are perfect for remembering your favorite wines and posting them in your journal.

Williams Sonoma Footed Candy Dish $24.95.  I saw this in person and I LOVE it! It is classic and I would use it for all sorts of things, not just candy! It would be fun in sets of 3 for dips or condiments!

Table Topics cards from Pottery Barn or Red Envelope $25.00.  These are really neat! We had something similar at my yoga retreat last month and they really led to some deep conversation! Great hostess gift!


And you just can’t have too many books! Especially Decorating Books.  And one of the few I don’t have yet is this Domino Book. At Amazon $32.00. 

Talking about books, check out William Yeoward on Entertaining for $40.00. My mom and I can’t get enough of tableware and entertaining, this might just make it’s way to her stocking!!

To personalize your books and stationary, this stamp would be perfect.  You can find it on Fine Stationary or at local retailers including my stationary source, Molly’s Paperie starting around $40.00.

Gifts under $100.00

Or if you are a little more old-fashioned, this embosser helps you keep track of your library!!  Available at the same retailers as the stamp, this is in the $60.00 price range.

 Red Envelope Wine Tasting Set $69.95.  I love blind tastings…they are so much fun! This one comes with score cards and everything!  It’s perfect for your next supper club! paperweights at $68.00 are so chic! And who would this not work for?? There are TONS of designs for both men and women and all can be personalized. Order by December 19 for Christmas delivery!!

This Set of 12 monthly journals from Pottery Barn is $99.00.  I really hope that I get this! I am excited to keep a journal for my daughter month to month that she can read when she grows up!


Gifts under $200.00

And if you want something just a little more substantial than the paperweights, try a Lucite Tray from They come in 3 different sizes starting at $100.00 and are available in all the colors and patterns.


I saw these beautiful carafes in the Hamptons this summer and fell in love.  They are by William Yeoward and are $175.00.  I am partial to the Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Noir!!  All my family would fight over these…I can’t decide who should get one!

Luxury Gifts

A Hot Item this year is Amazon‘s Kindle.  It is $359.00 and there is currently a waiting list for it.  And I understand why…you can get tons of books, magazines, newspapers and blogs write in the palm of your hand!  I conveniently have a birthday just a few weeks after Christmas, surely they will be back in stock by then!!

I love this Tory Burch Orange Logo Sweater from Saks Fifth Avenue and other Tory retailers for $250.00 ! I happen to have seen it in a local boutique and even tried it on.  Then I dropped a few hints with some of my family!  I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

I just can’t think of anything more exciting than getting Hermes Balcon China! If you order from Gumps, you’ll pay $440.00 for 4 dinner plates.

How do you make something so practical so fantastic?? Get out of the rain with this Burberry Hooded Rain Coat from Saks Fifth Avenue $695.00.

And from the King of Footwear, the ultimate in Luxury this year…Christian LeBoutin’s Yellow Platform Pumps $735.00 at Saks Fifth Avenue .  And if you just can’t stand to go yellow, you can’t go wrong with the classic black platform! And you save $35.00 in the process!


An Attitude of Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!! Partly because I get the pleasure of going to the home of my Aunt and Uncle, who have a beautiful home and who spare no energy in preparing a beautiful table (see above) and amazing meal for us to enjoy together.  Here are more photos of the amazing home!

 Or maybe the reason I love Thanksgiving so much is because we have the added excitement of our annual family golf tournament each thanksgiving morning complete with a HUGE (I’m talking PGA size) and very official looking trophy with each of  the winning team members names engraved on it year-after-year.  And keep in mind that many of these team members have never played golf before and this is their once-a-year effort at the sport! Here are a few photos from a couple of years ago taken by our good friend Michael Baxley.  It was unseasonably hot that year.

Here is my cousin David William with my nephew Hudson looking on.

And my brother, Lang.

My dad (and Hudson again).

And cousin Elizabeth, now on the golf team at SMU! Go Mustangs!

 And if food and golf were not enticing enough, we also have a fabulous wine tasting paired with gourmet hor-d’ouevres before dinner.  And each year we discover some fantastic new varietals! One of my favorite reds, a Pinot Noir by Kosta Browne, was a discovery from last year’s thanksgiving tasting.

But the real reason  that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, is that thanksgiving, for me,  is a day of love and fellowship with the people that I care for the most in the world. It is not diluted with getting wrapped up in things like buying gifts or spending a lot of money.  Now don’t get me wrong…I love a good occasion for gifts and spending money and Christmas happens to be my second favorite holiday for many, many reasons, but there is just something about a holiday that is totally focused on counting the many blessings that we each have in our lives!!  And I never even really thought about the fact that America was the first country to have a holiday based solely on being thankful until I heard it said that way in so many words while watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special last night with my daughter. But that even reminds me of one of my many gifts…living in this great country of ours!!

Every single day, I think how amazingly grateful I am for all of the wonderful things in my life!!  The list is so long that you would not even believe it, but it starts with my husband, daughter, parents, family, friends, and runs the gamut through my successful company and all the amazing things that are on the horizon in 2009 for my business, including a new book and a product line for a national manufacturer. 

These things are what make me get out of bed each day. And belive me, I really am aware of how fortunate I am!!! And I am such a beliver in having an attitude of gratitude! I write thank you notes everyday…literally! And if I can’t think of anything to be especially thankful for that day, then I thank someone for just being a part of my life and for making it just a little bit more pleasant than the day before! My staff practices this gratitude discipline every day too!!  And just the act itself makes their lives a little brighter each day because it forces them to focus on the good in life as opposed to getting bogged down in negative thoughts and emotions.  And the most fun part is that we all get the pleasure on a regular basis of getting a “thank-you for our thank-you”! And let me tell you from experience there is no better feeling than that! To hear from a customer service rep who is in tears because in all of 20 years in this industry, they have never been written a thank you note and that we changed their entire attitude about an often thankless job” is a gift that gets us all through a few more demanding days at the office.  I highly recommend this practice!! It certainly will touch your soul and lift your spirits just like another of my favorite disciplines, yoga.

And speaking of yoga…during this season of thanksgiving, one group of people that I am especially grateful for is my amazing staff!! They make me look good everyday.  And talk about giving me 150% percent…these people are so dedicated and they really believe in the vision that I have for my company! You cannot buy that kind of dedication and loyalty.  They are employees who act like owners and there is little that I can do to repay this sort of committment to me and my firm!!  But as a little token of my gratitude in honor of this Thanksgiving week, I had the pleasure of inviting my yoga teacher, Holly, to my office yesterday to give us a “private” group lesson.  And we had it right there in the design office!!! We moved the meeting table and turned out the lights except for a couple of low wattage lamps, we lit candles and turned on my “yoga” music, and we turned the ringers off on the phones, and for just one hour…we focused entirely on ourselves!! We focused on releasing all the tension and stress associated with being a “care-giver” for 40 wonderful clients, and we turned all of our energies inward! And let me say, it was one of the best experiences of my life!! Talk about girl bonding!! Not a word was said by any of us as we listened to the soothing instruction by Holly’s oh-so-calm tone, but no words were necessary!! There was so much unspoken gratitude that could be felt in the room.  Gratitude for the opportunity to take this well-needed break, gratitude for Holly and her knowledge of the practice, gratitude for such an amazing place to work, with amazing co-workers and amazing clients! There was gratitude for this holiday season, and our families, and our friends! Gratitude for our bodies and our health. Gratitude for life and all the blessings it brings and for the challenges too!

So just in case I did not verbalize it, even though my gestures may have gone without saying, I want everyone to know that I am totally thankful for my staff!!  They are a group of 8 amazing women that certainly add to the joys of my life everyday!

And I am also thankful for my Wonderful Family, Friends and Clients and to all you faithful readers of my blog and for the exciting things I will be able to share with you in 2009!! Happy Thanksgiving! And may you experience an Attitude of Gratitude this holiday season and into the New Year! Believe me, your life will never be the same!!