AZ Tidbits

I swung by my local florist last week, the Camelback Flowershop, and saw something that made my heart flutter: My initial thought was that I would take advantage of this the next time I host a dinner party on a weekend.  But, then again, why wait for a special occasion?  At 50% off, I want to treat myself every chance I can get.  La vida …

Viva Fiesta

This week is Fiesta in San Antonio, an event commemorating the fallen heroes of the Battle of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, the latter of which ultimately gave Texas its freedom from Mexico.  It was a brief 18 minute battle, occurring in present-day Harris County, just outside Houston, where the Texians, led by General Sam Houston, defeated the Mexican army and captured …

Houston Antiquing

I just returned from a scouting trip to Houston, my second of (hopefully many) such excursions.  We have been designing, planning, and recently building a new home in AZ, and are finally at the fun part…decorating.  I met my designer extraordinaire there, and we spent two very busy and productive days hitting as many stores as time would allow.  She likes to stay at the …

Bright Shiny Things

While in Istanbul, I became fascinated with the Bohemian crystal chandeliers that seem to adorn many palaces, hotels, restaurants, and homes.  In the restaurant Pandeli, above the spice market, I spotted the first of many to be seen along my trip. Notice the etched tulip-shaped glass globes.  The tulip flower originated centuries ago in Persia and Turkey, and played a significant role in the art …

Bluebonnet Blues

As I was looking through some photos of past Spring Breaks, I realized that I am missing the blooming of the bluebonnets this year in Texas.  The desert in Arizona is starting to bloom, and I have begun to take some pics, but I am waiting until the palo verde and ocotillo bloom (and maybe the saguaro too) until I post the photos.  In the …

Iznik Tiles

Iznik tiles and pottery get their name from the town in western Anatolia where they were made in the late 15th century through the late 17th century.  They are beautifully decorated with floral and arabesque patterns in rich colors of blues, greens and reds. After our tour of the Spice Bazaar, we walked a short distance to the Rustem Pasha Mosque, which is known as …

The Spice of Life

It should comes as no surprise that I do not agree with Kate Moss when she exclaims, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”.  One cannot truly experience a culture without gaining an understanding of the cuisine and its history, in my very humble opinion.  So one morning in Istanbul, I signed up for an off-site on the cuisine and spices of Turkey.  This included breakfast at Pandeli, a historic restaurant …

Istanbul Luxury Shopping Part 2

Known today as one of the most recognized brand names for luxury clothing, Vakko was founded in 1934 as a small hat shop called Sen Sapka (Merry Hats). The name changed to Vakko shortly thereafter and the company started producing scarves using Turkish silk, cotton and wool.  A small silk screening workshop was founded in the Kurtulus district of Istanbul, which Vakko still uses today.  In addition …

Istanbul Luxury Shopping Part 1

When in Istanbul, a tour of the local fashion houses is a must for exploring Turkey’s cultural heritage.  Two of my favorite are Armaggan and Vakko.  Armaggan has two locations, one in the high-end shopping district of Nisantasi, and a second on Nuruosmaniye Avenue, near the Grand Bazaar.  The multi-level store sells items as varied as Turkish crafts, towels and linens, leather goods, high-end jewelry, …

A Little Perk

This will be my first post after having returned from a week in Istanbul, Turkey.  As I start to organize my notes, I will start with a short post on Turkish coffee.  We were in Istanbul primarily for a conference, and it was through one of the many off-sites organized by the conference that we were treated to an introduction on Turkish coffee and the …