Flashback - Halloween at Hellway Hall

I was very fortunate to have interned at Barry Dixon Inc. last Fall in Warrenton, Virginia.Truly a dream of an internship that I continue to be grateful for and appreciate. The seven minute scenic drive to Elway Hall  from the rambling pink Victorian house on Falmouth St. and coffee from Mom's Apple Pie Company always made for a daily roaring start. I referred to my internship journal and the entry on Day 5 was - worked on Halloween at Hellway Hall invitations for 70 people. I was beyond excited to experience my first pumpkin carving party and in Barry Dixon fashion at that. While I was growing up in the Philippines, we didn't celebrate Halloween as feverishly but observed All Saint's Day  and All Soul's Day  instead.

"It was built by the 19th century industrialist and U.S. Senator, Johnson Newlon Camden, for his son-in-law and daughter, Gen. and Mrs. Baldwin Day Spilman. Elway Hall stands on 15 rolling, wooded acres. This great Edwardian mansion, completed in 1907, was the largest private residence built in Warrenton up to that time. Furnishings are a Continental blend of antique and contemporary pieces, acquired in France and Italy, with quieter Anglo-American echoes. Trophies from a safari with the Duke of Windsor and a walnut and a satinwood finish French armoire are from the estate of F.W. Woolworth. There are several iron and wire mesh pieces from a furniture collection designed by Barry Dixon."

Elway Hall photo from a Washington Post article

Barry Dixon, Michael Schmidt and Ellie at Elway Hall
photo by Tria Giovan

Hellway Hall's pumpkin carving party came about when Barry and his supportive partner, Michael Schmidt, organized it for their nieces and nephews almost twenty years ago. It continues to grow every year and has become one of the main events their family and friends look forward to. Guests are picked up at a designated point in the property and taken on a hay ride to the chic rustique barn. There were many photo op moments but I deferred from using my camera since I was still so new at the job. Claire's, Warrenton's top restaurant and caterer, served comfort food in style.

After googling photos and articles, I was thankful to find this lovely blog post by Eddie Ross  and photos by Laura Moss for House Beautiful. I will share some of those here with you....

a thoughtful tableau

the way to the loggia

melancholic mist

Ellie, the darling of the manse, in a majestic pose

They carved pumpkins and stuffed themselves with candy in merriment...

while I popped one too many of these addictive ham and biscuit amuse bouche!

photo taken in 2003 during our family holiday at the Bellagio, Las Vegas

Happy Halloween!!!


Delicious Design - Cebu Daily News

*please click on image to enlarge

In Response to the Editorial:

To my dear editor Jude,

We go way back, don't we? I first met you at one of Butch Carungay's  themed parties eight years ago. Particularly, the Pimps and Whores party, voila! I still have pictures to prove it too, double voila! You captured me with your wit and dazzling talents as host, stand up comic and songstress. If you don't know Jude Bacalso , these are just three of ten titles. He is an environmental consultant, print and tv personality, radio DJ, pre-med professor, dabbles in genetic engineering and brilliant writer/editor. But to me, he is more than all these. He is a true friend despite time and distance. He has the uncanny ability to read me very well and make me reach into myself while keeping it real. He was my editor when I had a weekly column in another daily and was known as Gypsy Queen for almost four years. He tolerates my PMS P.S. pleas too after I send in a profile photo i.e. please make my arms look thinner..please...and orders Jill (our layout superstar) to do just. that. When he asked me to contribute for his Delicious portion of Cebu Daily News, I was only too happy to indulge.
Our friendship struck as we happily bumped into each other at events playing different characters. Having the same gypsyish tendencies, we sometimes enjoyed the facade that we were afforded.  Thankful for such as we carried on our print lives with aplomb, despite the doldrums that come with real lives such as unfinished dreams,  churning gossip mills, wayward boys, trivial frustrations and broken hearts. We have the best of times when we're in our tees, jeans and flip flops sans maquillage and big hair sharing a simple meal and giggling to our hearts' content. Jude, thank you for enabling me to shine in the special way that you only know how and do. You're the best!!!



High Point Furniture Market Highlights

The first time I set foot in High Point, North Carolina was in 1994. My father took me on a working trip before I started freshman year at the University of the Philippines hoping that  I will imbibe the furniture culture. Growing up in the industry inhaling sawdust and chemicals, I took some of it for granted. The HP landscape left a lot to be desired  too that some of us jokingly called it Low Point. Over the years,  it proved to be my training ground as much as the factory floors. I still recall the times I would pick a suit to wear so I would look like I fit in with the men and dress it up with stilettos , tag along while lugging material swatches and sketches, listen, absorb and cram everything while fighting the jetlag. It seems eons ago now. Various experiences have shaped me and I've come to take on furniture market more confidently, curate it to my focus and priorities and make it more fun. Thankfully, the lodging, amenities and restaurant options have improved some after being suspended in its own time warp.

Joining the dynamic Withit (Women in the Home Industries Today) organization enabled me to meet amazing women in the industry and attend educational events too.  A week ago, Tobi Fairley, discussed about Building Your Celebrity Design Brand through Social Media. Being business | design | tech savvy, Tobi, was the perfect personality to enlighten the packed room about all the different social media outlets.

Tobi Fairley's Top Tips for Social Media
 put yourself out there
like anything in life, take the risk
avoid taboo topics you avoid in real life
transparency and authenticity are cherished online
become the expert and find your niche
you must give your followers a reason to want more
style and substance are no longer separate
practice what you preach

I started following Tobi, one of  2009's Top 20 Young Designers in America, on Twitter months ago so it was truly a charm to finally meet her and put a voice to the face. She cohosted the Tweetup with Ed Marin and Jennifer Balest of Soicher Marin at their new showroom. Friends who came were interior designer and adjunct professor of visual arts @nyycarl07 , @johnstrauss who also showed his fine furniture at Interhall, Charlotte interior designers @StarrMiller @WandaSHorton  with sweet husband Roger, design, licensing and patent lawyer  @jerry_cohen, and social media mentor and interior designer @ProsperbyDesign   We all marvel about how Twitter has brought us like minded individuals together and feel like we've known each other longer than we actually have.

Withit cohosted their Competitive Intelligence event with  Leif Petersen, Inc. showroom  and presented one of my biggest design crushes (evah!) Karim Rashid! Stephanie Lowder, Withit president aka @RareBirdCreativ, interviewed him and it was as real as can be. Before I knew there was a  KarimSpace book signing after, I got an autograph as he drank a capuccino. I know I'm so cheesy but just had to! He so rocks his signature all white and pink ensemble and wore a diamond and pink sapphire band that just made it even sweeter.

Random Notes from Karim Rashid's Interview
design emotional experiences instead of physical
designing is shaping our evolution
contemporary shapes the future
nothing lasts forever
world is more ethereal and visceral
technology has empowered us to become creative
design is about denoting how we live
we live in the casual age mentally & physically
furniture will be softer and lower
excited about bioplastics
he envisions an all plastic chair in sugarcane or corn
the US consumes 30 million H20 bottles a day
1 out of 20 people write a letter
Adorno mortality
never checks a bag when travelling
he never reads fiction and would rather see a film
retail will die eventually due to the Internet
being inspired to create is in his DNA
innovate or die

People ask me why he is my Design Crush?
I just love his philosophy!
And of course, I had to have our photo taken together!

High Point is never the same without hanging out with my Cebu posse Richard Stolzman and @cornelchiriac. Casa di Cornel has been my home in High Point for awhile now and it is made even sweeter that he just married his sweet @rodikamk. I've encouraged them to get more active on Twitter and they are having fun with it. These two spoil me with healthy delish meals and algae pills which has been keeping me flu free and uber healthy for 2 years now. No one believes this until they see it but the princess&thepea mattress of choice at la Casa is this  fashionable oversized bean bag! It comforms to my back like no other and I do my yoga stretches on it. No one can ever replace dear Adele, the in house masseuse at my Dad's home, who puts me to sleep faster than a pill but this Paris Mon Amour kept me recharged during Market!


Giveaways Galore!

Aside from all the support and admiration (Thank you sooo much for the fabulous mention , ABCD!) that is exchanged on Twitter and the Blog-a-delic world, there seems to be a bevy of lovely gifts being given away by our fabulous friends too! Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo is on a lovely roll with her 2nd Blog-I-Versary giveaway. This time, it is sweet bedding from Plum Pretty Sugar. The lucky winner will be announced on October 14th so go on over and tell them how badly your bed needs some cover up TLC!



Plum Pretty Sugar

= Fabulous Bedding Blog-I-Versary Giveaway!

In honor of Columbus Day and Celebration of Exploration, my friends at Irwin Feld Design

are having their first ever droolworthy giveaway!!

Triangle New York Vintage Handbag
Cut Velvet with an Amber Resin Handle

Irwin and Marcy Feld, purveyors of fine Mid Century Modern furniture and accessories, are creative wunderkinds who complement each other so well with their range of artistic and business talents. After becoming Twitter friends, Marcy and I had the pleasure of lunching at Isabella's  for our tweetup in NYC one hot Summer day. Truly had a delightful time together as we exchanged stories so naturally that it felt like it wasn't our first meeting. As you can see from their gallery photos, Irwin is a master of mixing elements that result in a tableaux of spectacular juxtaposition. Marcy has a sweet genuine soul which reflects on her brilliant and moving writing about furniture makeovers,  love stories and sweet sibling devotion. This particular One caused tears and stained my pinafore, perhaps reminiscent of a romance that was never meant to be? (ha!) Before I digress, check out the wonderful details for you to win this cut velvet Triangle New York Vintage Handbag!

Become a fan of Irwin Feld Design on Facebook and explore the world of Mid Century Modern Design.

-      Only our Facebook fans will view “What’s New Tuesday”,our weekly sneak peak of new pieces in the gallery beforeANYBODY else.

-      Only our Facebook fans will have the opportunity to “Ask Irwin” questions about Mid Century Modern furnishings and design.

-      AND only our Facebook fans, who comment on our discussion page  Now through October 19th at 12:00 noon, will automatically become eligible to win this elegant, vintage Trangle NY handbag.  A premier maker of handbags throughout the Mid 20th Century, Triangle handbags represent the timeless elegance of Mid Century design.

So, what are you waiting for?
Run along now and
Be An Irwin Feld Design Facebook Fan
I am a Fan!


Blogwarming Present from ABCD

As you can see, my blog just took on a New Fabulous Personality! Can I use the "you, only better" line without being obnoxious? Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo masterminded the jazzy makeover in a jiffy as a blogwarming present. I am just a newbie to this big Blog-a-Delic universe so my heart was all a flutter when she sent me a zip file with twelve FAB (yes, 12!!) header options. It was exponential A.D.D but I finally decided on this design. The colors matched perfectly without a hitch which goes to show that Amy's Pantone vision is unquestionable.

I first 'met' Amy on Twitter and I was so taken by her creativity in everything that it makes one fall in love  with life even more. Before she left NYC for a sabbatical "Up North", I happened to be in town and asked her if she was up for a 'tweetup'. Thankfully, she obliged despite a hectic schedule and we had coffee at 71 Irving Place Coffee & Tea. We shared stories and she encouraged me to do a blog after I mentioned that I've entertained thoughts but was intimidated by it all. She assured me that it was easy as pie but Amy makes everything look as easy as her strawberry pie! I had a wonderful feeling about her. You know how it is when you meet people and you just have a great feeling about their energy? After our lovely chat, I remember calling one of my best friends and announced that I already know who's designing my bespoke wedding invitations one day!

Thank you, ABCD,for my j'adorable blog header! I knew it needed a lift but didn't know how to do it! Just the perfect blogwarming present and only you, can think of such bloglicious ideas such as your bespoke giveaway  on your 2nd Blog-I-Versary!

Recessionista Fashionista

Arisce Wanzer from Miami (@Ariscestocrat ) and I met and summered together in 2007. We got to know each other day in and out while boarding at Chateau de Pourtales, Strasbourg, and exploring many art and architectural, design, fashion and party must sees all over Europe. Always fashion savvy whether in chic casuals or ready-to-paint-the-town-red ensembles, I asked her to share some recessionista fashionista tips with me.

A: Before you go shopping, Shop your closet!!! One will be surprised at which fashions, cuts, styles, and silhouettes are already repeating themselves.

M: Just shopped my storage unit aka closet for Fall the last 2 weekends and yes, I do seem to have everything I need and more. One of my fave IPhone apps is Touch Closet, it really helps me get organized every season.

 A:  A "Basic" Revival ~ t-shirts, denim, trench coats, sweaters, trousers, dresses, and even accessories! If the piece is neutral or classic in color, shape or style, then bring it out and re-work to your liking.

M: Basics such as the classic Burberry trench, great fitting denim, cashmere and animal prints are here to stay. Accessories are easy to play with. I reworked some of my jewelry last Summer and here are a few inspirational images.

La Tortue 
The mother of pearl discs were from a broken necklace that dear friend, Butch Carungay of Avatar, designed for me when we went to the party island paradise, Boracay ,years ago. I remained obsessed with it that I kept the discs when it broke. It came together with turquoise and coral charms from a bead shop in Greenville, SC and Swarovski crystals from my personal stash.

Belle Memoires
I made this necklace out of charms from one of my best friend's wedding souvenirs. Miranda Konstantinidou of Konplott, a brilliant jewelry designer, gave out the round keychains for souvenirs. The bead and Swarovski crystal voodoo doll was a 'just because' gift from her too. The beau's cousin, Michelle,  gave the cross for my graduation gift. Silver grey baroque pearls and crystals from On a String bead shop in Myers Park (Charlotte, NC) added some bling to the papal and saint medallions from Rome and Spain and my old diary keys. I thought this was a good idea to string special mementoes together .

La Fleur de Milan
The leather flower was salvaged from an old belt that another best friend, Debbie Palao, brought me from one of her trips to Milan. I updated it with some horn and smooth/rough gold tinged druzy chalcedony.

La Croix Bleu
A combination of three necklaces for a high and low look. The vintage cross is from a Mikel Ansingh piece. The chain link beads are from a necklace I got at Target and the round raffia balls and glass beads are from a necklace I got at a souvenir store in Cebu called Ethnic Ventures. 

Sunken Treasure
Grabbed a few gold coins from an 80s belt (which doubles as a necklace) and added them onto my coral bead twisted piece.

A:  Don't just throw out last seasons staples. Keep EVERYTHING that you once loved and re-style it to
look fresh.

A: Invest in a well tailored power suit ~ whether this includes straight leg pants, wide leg trousers, or a 3-piece skirt suit that fits you just right!

A: The little black dress(LBD) ~There's a reason I have six of these! They're easy to style, make new and interchangeable according to the occasion. Just be sure you have one that makes you scream with excitement every time you put it on!

M: Since I'm petite, I sometimes buy two of each when an LBD or pants fit me really well.

A: Bring old shoes back from the dead ~ Go to your cobbler to get those shoes you used to love so much to be professionally cleaned and/or re-soled. It will cost you less than a new pair of shoes. Cobblers can be found almost anywhere but usually are adjoined to tailoring shops in local shopping centers. Cobblers repair and clean old belts and handbags as well.

M: Just collected Dior platform pumps, a vintage Chanel patent bag, Louboutin in animal print and Pierre Hardy booties that can really work well this season after I send them to the reliable cobbler in Myers Park. 

A: Do not feel pressured to purchase anything that you do not feel is right for you or is too expensive for your new budget. Whether they are your manipulative friends or pushy sales people, trust your opinion first. Buyer's remorse will be a thing of the past!

A: Wear what you have like it is the Latest Fashion! Confidence is key to wearing anything. Old clothes worn proudly and stylishly are just as new.

A:  If you do NOT love it, do NOT buy it!