Favorite find in Madrid!

Sep 21, 2011

I have an in-depth travel guide post in the works for my recent trip to Madrid but I just have to cut in and share this little tip first!

If you find yourself honeymooning in Madrid, steal a moment away from the magnificent sun and mojitos and find your way to Calle Toledo 30. It may not look like much but I promise you ... a shoe mecca awaits you inside:

This lovely red jewel of a shoe store was only a block from our hotel and we must have passed it three or four times ... each time, I slowed my pace and let my eyes dance across the lines of espadrilles to the rows of colorful ballet flats in the windows. Finally, a red patent-leather pair of ballet flats called out to me like a song of Sirens. I opened the door. Before I could take in the sky-high shelving filled with a rainbow of assorted espadrilles, I was already being helped into a pair of smoky grey metallic ballet flats. {They were out of the candy apple patent leathers, boo! If you look verrrrry closely in the photo above, you can spot the pair I took home - 5th row down from top on right-hand side, 2nd pair in} I snapped up my Cinderella slippers for a mere 22 Euro and on my way out, spotted a real-life ballerina being fitted for a new pair of gold ballet slippers. Love it.

I am beyond smitten with my pair of flats and I am slightly convinced that this darling shop may not only manufacture their supply but *may* also sell to high-end designers. My pair came in an unmarked box and has an area in the sole to be stamped with a brand but is blank. Hmmmmmmmm, interesting, no? .... here's a glimpse at a few other colors they offer .... so wish they would have had that delightful red in stock! Maybe next time!

After arriving home, my curiosity was piqued by this charming little shop and I decided to do a little research. While I didn't actually find that they sell to top brands or exquisite boutiques, I did find a fabulous little nugget ... Carolina Herrera likes to shop at LOBO, too! ;o) Read below, via Travel + Leisure.

Given las Herreras' prominence in the world of style, it's no surprise that shopping, whether for fashion or flowers, is a bit of an obsession for the designer and her daughters. Calzados Lobo, a store that has stood near Plaza Mayor for more than a century, is where the Herrera women stock up on the traditional handmade espadrilles (they start at around $8 a pair) that found favor with the Paris OpĂ©ra, which ordered dozens of Lobo shoes for a production of Carmen. The shop is about half the size of a one-car garage; its open shelves are crammed with boxes, and dozens of customers stand elbow-to-elbow clutching wait-your-turn numbers. "When I was a child in Caracas, we wore espadrilles all the time," Patricia says.

Fabulousness. So, again, if you find yourself in Madrid, do make your way to Calle Toledo 30 and let me know what you find. ;o) And if you know anything more about the shop, do share! I'd still love to find out more.
{Images: Top by moi; second via Calzados LOBO}

Vintage-inspired faux wedding

Loving this faux wedding today! Hope you do, too!

To see more from the shoot, just click here. Thanks to Diane Christina Photography for sending the shoot in!

Photographer - Diane Christina Photography

MU/Hair Team - Step HEAVVY

Dessert Caterer - Dolci Bar

Wardrobe - Retrofit Republic

Florist -

Beautifully Rustic Virginia Farm Wedding {+ a CB dress legacy!}

Sep 19, 2011

You may remember from this post {about Kim + Phil's magical engagement in Paris} that I got to know Kim awhile ago when I was selling my wedding day attire. She was the lucky girl who "inherited" my beloved ensemble and I'm so thrilled and excited today to share her glorious wedding day with you! I have to say, it's  surreal yet emotional and touching to see my former wedding dress featured in the beginning of a new love story, befitting a fresh, beautiful, glowing bride ... it takes me back to remembering the overwhelming feelings of love on my own wedding day. :o) Warm fuzzies.

From Kim, on the dress legacy ;o) : I can't even tell you how much I loved wearing *our* dress. I felt like an absolute princess. Thank you for selling it to me, and to your mom for making the bolero. I love both pieces so much. It was the star of the show. :-)

Says Kim, "When we first started planning we talked about what we hoped for our wedding. We wanted it to be beautiful, but not extravagant. Spiritual, but not stuffy. It was the perfect day--an afternoon tea at an amazing farm!

It was rustic but romantic. We had lawn games and lots of types of iced tea. Instead of renting plates or napkins, we collected mismatched china dishes and vintage handkerchiefs.

The most special pieces of the wedding were the touches of our family and friends. So many people were willing to help us with the wedding -- from building and decorating the arch we were married under, to playing instruments for our first dance, to baking our wedding cake, to crafting our ring box. We treasured the experience of being so surrounded by love. 

My favorite part of the wedding day was sneaking off with Phil to take a few photos during the reception. It was such a nice way to breathe deep and slow down in the middle of it all!

We had so much fun at our wedding. In part it was because we had terrific vendors and family and friends who took care of everything for us. We also, though, were intentional about not worrying on our wedding day! Things went wrong (of course) but it was even better than anything we could have imagined. We spent the day giggling, kissing, dancing, and feeling so so loved. What could be better than that?

Thank you so much for sharing your radiant day with us, Kim! Congratulations and may you share endlessly happy days together! xox.

Credits: Ceremony & Reception at Grandale Farm in Purcellville, VA. / Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade / Photographer: Cramer Photo / Wedding Coordinator: Blue Canary Events / Stationary: Papered Together

Behind-the-Scenes at MS Weddings ;o)

Sep 9, 2011

Hey loves, have you picked up the brand new Fall issue of Martha Stewart Weddings? I received my copy in the mail a few days ago and have been drooling ever since ... it makes me want to plan another wedding all over again!

If you haven't seen it yet, you must read the cover story that features a look at 14 of the most iconic designers in the industry {yes, Vera and Oscar made the cut as well as my faaavorite, Marchesa!}. The team at MSW sent me this fun behind-the-scenes footage to accompany the cover story and I found it interesting so I thought you might, too! Enjoy. xox.

And now I'm off to Spain ...

I feel like I just got home {oh wait, I did just get home!} and now I'm heading off on a new adventure! Somehow, a last-minute trip to Madrid was planned this week so I'm frantically trying to brush up on my Spanish {how did I take it for 8 years and totally just blank out on how to say 'hello'?!? omg, I'm in trouble!}

This will be my *first* time to Spain {can't believe I haven't been yet!} so if you have ANY suggestions for Spain or specifically, Madrid, I would looooooooove to hear them! cheers!

Braderie de Lille {+ a little escape to the French & Belgian coast}

Entry No. 12: Braderie de Lille // French + Belgian Coast

I am back, relaxed and rested from a whirlwind weekend that was Braderie de Lille in northern France. I really wish I would have taken more photos to share but we were so engrossed with shopping that I sadly neglected my little Nikon for most of the weekend. I snapped the shot above because I was toying with the idea of buying that old window casing from a French building ... I would have loved to have turned it into a mirror or a chalkboard - wouldn't that be fun? It would be beautiful holding a Menu sign at a wedding or any event, non? For some very stupid reason, I didn't even inquire about it and am now having a case of minor regret.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was the glorious food ... I shared a freshly-steamed pot of mussels at every single meal and was in heaven with a Stella on the side. Perfection! It was the first time I had ever tried mussels and I can honestly say I am now happily addicted! The photo above is from a little seaside cafe we discovered on our way out of town in De Panne, Belgium ... the mussels were cooked in a curry sauce and omg, best.meal.ever! The Sangria was a fantastic touch, too. ;o) Warmed us right up from the coastal chill!

We heard that all the restaurants in Lille compete for the highest stack of mussel shells during the weekend festivities ... We probably added a pound of shells to that stack pictured above!

We were so close to the coast, we couldn't resist a trip to Dunkerque, France and De Panne, Belgium ... just to say we've visited the North Sea if nothing else. It was refreshing to see the sea again ... I've missed it. And that sweet little lamb greeted us on the way out of town. We were stopping at a local grocery to load up on yummy Belgian beers and he came over to greet us with a song of 'Bleeehs' ... I wanted to take him home with me! Look at that sweet face!

Okay, so you're probably wondering what treasures I ended up getting at Lille? Unfortunately, I didn't buy all that much as I just didn't see what I was looking for. I did buy two awesome bottles {one dreamy aqua-coloured seltzer bottle and an old Sirop bottle from Paris} ... a few vintage candy tins ... a pair of Paris-stamped opera glasses .. an Italian alabaster lamp {which I've been looking for forever!} ... and my favorite piece ... what I *think* is the footboard to an antique twin bed:

You may be wondering why on Earth would I buy such a random piece? Well, I have big plans! I want to hang this beauty above our antique cast-iron bed {like a pediment} and drape some gorgeous material underneath to create a canopy effect. I think when I'm done, it will look fabulous!

And I just had to share this amazing French street sign I picked up a few weeks ago at another French flea market ... and my favorite part? It's from Paris ... I finally have an 'authentic' souvenir from the streets of Paris ... literally!! ;o) I love the rust, too ...

What is your favorite flea market find so far? Do share!!

Braderie de Lille Ratings
Size ............................................ A+
The fair is said to boast almost 9,000 vendors and around 100km of stalls.
Not too shabby. Definitely enough turf to fill a weekend of shopping.
It certainly did for us!
Selection of antiques ...................... B
98% of what we saw certainly wouldn't be found in a museum or castle ...
which doesn't necessarily mean it was a bad selection but having been to a handful
of French flea markets, this one was and is my least favorite.
Fairness of pricing ....................... C
I really think the Braderie de Lille has become such a huge event
that it has succumbed to being a tourist trap ... which unfortuntely means
ridiculous prices. I actually had a hard time not scoffing and/or laughing
when I heard some of the prices {and I flea market almost every weekend in
Europe so I'm definitely in the know on the going rates}.
Friendliness of vendors ................ B
Like all flea markets, there was a mixture of moods and dispositions.
There were a few snooty vendors but there were also some very sweet vendors
we enjoyed buying from and even joked around a bit ... the laughter and smiles
outshined the negative.
Entertainment value ...................... A++
One of our favorite things to do at Lille was enjoy a bucket of mussels and Stella
while watching all the goings-on ... people watching was premium
here. So many different styles and backgrounds coming together.

Images by moi.

Headed for Lille ...

Sep 2, 2011

Hey dolls ... I'm off for a long weekend to Lille, France, for the annual Braderie de Lille {Europe's LARGEST flea/antique market!} I can't wait to see what treasures we bring home with us!

I'll be dreaming tonight of zinc wine-drying racks, Parisian street signs {I picked one up at the Metz flea last weekend and am in love!}, bread bowls, hand-blown demijohns, and loads of gorgeously carved antique furniture ... I'm hoping to find a 17c dining set among many other things. ;o)

What would you be looking for at Europe's largest brocante??