Monday, February 28, 2011

Drinking in La Taste and Faking French

Whenever Nero gets an itch to live une vie more Vicki, I pop into La Taste, a local boutique that caters to the "A Year in Provence" set, and anyone else who's aching to be whisked away to Aix for a life of lavender, tapenade and all things both rustic and refined, well-aged and wonderfully-lived. The shop offers a tantalizing selection of French toiletries, including hand-milled soaps and fragrances from the iconic Provencal house of perfume, Fragonard. There is also a mouth-watering array of gourmandises on display including rainbow-hued and floral-flavored hard candies, chocolate truffles, herbed olive oils and salts, and jams and preserves, all made in the South of France. With a soundtrack of catchy French crooners playing to induce a mood trip, this place is the perfect escapade after a long lunch in Houston's Rice Village. In fact it's so authentic a simulation, fair readers, that you'll almost feel you're in Provence, apart from the fact that the shop doesn't shutter for the post-repast sieste. That said, the experience at La Taste is overall sensory, decidedly South of Frenchy -- a satisfying soul stimulation.

Of Cowpokes and Kerchiefs

This time of year heralds the rodeo here in Texas, as trail rides, cook-offs and a generalized sense of raucous wrangling take over our vast state and city streets. It's a festive season, even for those of us who don't rope and holler regularly or know how to wield the proverbial barbecue brand. "Go Texan Day" has become a time-honored tradition in many of our schools and this year was no exception. Ours was a genuine cowpoke production. Come along for the hoedown.

Our kerchiefed cowpoke

Twin teepees raised on high

Yarns spun by the great-great-grandsons and daughters of tribal chieftains

Snake charmers held slinky slitherers

Rapt lil' wranglers

A lone longhorn lounged (note the nose ring, y'all)

Critters large and small were corralled



and coiffed 

Horned but not so dangerous...
a rootin'-tootin' good time was had by all

So remember, there's no friend like a cowboy

Speak your mind, but ride a fast horse.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Charmed, I'm Sure

The April issue of Traditional Home is a refreshing romp. 
For those anticipating a slow Sunday, get ye to the newsstand. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Of Stitches Most Fine in Time

This weekend's edition of The Wall Street Journal's WSJ Magazine features a piece on Olya Thompson, the former Russian ballerina-turned textile designer and delicate doyenne of the fabled New York townhome that haunts Nero's waking hours. To read more about this dreamweaver and her intricately stitched Tissus Tartares, get your nimble fingers on a copy of the Journal. Oh and there's an extra perk, fair readers, Paul Costello's the shutterbug. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Exhale...It's Friday

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Of Wealth Shame and Reverse Snobbery

"Getting the wealth-shame aesthetic doesn't necessarily mean you stop spending: it just looks that way so as not to make others feels bad." 
Helen Kirwan-Taylor 

Still hide your luxury purchases in brown paper bags? No sweat, everyone's doing it. To find out more about how rough luxe and stealth wealth can make you look less loaded, tip-toe behind this distressed cashmere curtain


Urban flâneuse, armchair observer, absent-minded scribbler, occasional epicure and carpool line cultural attaché, my nom de plume is Nero. Join me as I catalog a compilation of earthly delights and stuff that I dig. Alcira Molina-Ali



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