Selecting wine is not easy. I find that I usually rely on the staff recommendations at the grocery store or else I go with one of my standby favorites. When I want to try something different however, or I'm looking for a pairing with a particular dish or perhaps need something special to give as a gift, I'm usually stumped.
Luckily for me (and now everyone else!) I've been able to call on my friend Elizabeth to help me pick a superb wine even when I'm just looking for an 'everyday' type of thing.
I'd like to introduce you to a new wine resource ~ Elizabeth's List ~ a weekly offering of personal favorites chosen by someone well versed in the Northern California boutique wine community. Consider her like a girlfriend you can trust who truly knows wine and the winemakers behind them.
Let me first say that Elizabeth is not only my dear friend, Tuesday morning running partner, mother of three, Southern Belle and all around terrific peron, but she reeeaaallly knows wine. I often call her from the store saying something like, "What should I get that goes with chicken strips?" or "We're grilling steaks, what's your recommendation?" and she always gets it right.
In her own words...
How did Elizabeth's List come about?
I have been in the wine business for 3 years selling boutique, small production wines to restaurants and wine bars in Marin and Sonoma County. When I travel and go back east to see friends and family in the summer people were always asking about the wines that I was drinking, what the trends were.... how they could purchase some of these wines. After two years of this I asked a wine sales web company who I worked with, Porthos, about doing my own web sales company. They asked me to work with them...Elizabeth's List was then created.
How does your relationship with Porthos benefit Elizabeth's List?
Porthos has been in business for 10 years and are first class. They are the wine concierge for Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report and highly regarded in the wine community. They taste over 10,000 wines a year. So I have access to the small production farm to table wines that are so popular right now and then have access to all of their wines too....domestic and imports. It is the best of the best. No minimum order. Porthos handles all the shipping, which is free on 6 or more bottles to anywhere in the US. Tasting notes come with the wine as well as pairing recommendations. Elizabeth's List offers a wine selection each week or two. I feature a wine and tell a bit about the program. Clicking the link to purchase takes you to check out. Very easy and Porthos is super professional.
How do you select wines for Elizabeth's List?
I choose a wine by the following..... one that I have tasted and love, like the wine program and people, see that the wine is getting good press ( and agree with it), and from what great restaurants and wine bars are pouring across the country.
How can we find you and sign up for your weekly Elizabeth's List offers?
To sign up for my offers go to www.ElizabethsList.com or e mail me at email@example.com
A snippet of what a typical weekly offering delivered to your email (no cost) might look like...
Happy weekend! I hope it invloves something nice to sip. A votre sante!
There were so many lighting options that I was looking up almost as much as down. This was one of my favorites. I like the industrial chic + wine barrel look.
This amber glass lamp with matching hurricanes is even more beautiful in person. I love this color with dark grey.
Not the best photo, but I wanted to remind myself of the broad spectrum this line carries. If there was only one booth I could buy from at the whole show, it would have been this one. I just wish they would respond to my inquiry!
Walking through the aisles, the opportunities to be inspired are endless. These batik fabrics didn't just catch my eye for their beauty, but the knotted display got me thinking about ways to hang fabric samples in the studio.
When I saw these denim and chambray pillows at the Pinecone Hill booth, I immediately pictured them on a white slipcovered sofa or a gauzy bed and was transported to a beach house in the summertime.
A trend that was apparent in many collections, was jute accessories.
I really like this jute mirror, but don't have a place or client for it. Debating whether or not...
These baskets made of rubber tubing are great for bathrooms or outdoor areas.
Saving the best for last... simply perfect in scale and proportion. Coming soon to a store in Marin!
I've been going through my photos and brochures from the NYIGF that I attended a few weeks ago, trying to decide what to order for the store. Thought you might enjoy seeing some of the many great selections from the show!
If you have never been, it's really fun and incredibly inspiring, but it can be overwhelming too - especially without a strategy. Maybe telling how I do it, will be of some help to those thinking about attending the August show...
The main building - The Javits Center - is a three story Convention Center with aisle, upon aisle of vendors. In a separate location that requires taking a shuttle bus, is the Piers which is where the majority of the Home Furnishings vendors are located. I have found that focusing on only those areas that are relevant to home decor, is the only way I can get through the show in two days.
My routine has been to visit the Javits Center on the first day, and if I have energy and time after that, make a stab at a few aisles of the Piers. Then get an early start on the second day and tackle the rest of the Piers. If you have only one day, and really want to take in the most home furnishings as possible, then just go to the Piers.
Once you veer off and visit, say the fashion accessories section for example, telling yourself that it will refresh your perspective and give you more ability to focus on what you came 3,000 miles to find, you will be sucked in, get completely confused, probably say the hell with it and leave early, then go have a drink with your friend who you've convinced to leave work early.
Anyway, there were so many gorgeous things, that I thought you might like to see what caught my eye. Here are some of the things I'm ordering for the store and website or am considering for client projects. What makes your heart skip a beat?
This was one of the first booths that I fell in love with. These gorgeous towels from Japan are made of terry cloth on one side and soft cotton on the other. I've never met a stripe I didn't like, so I was in heaven with their selection.
Moving on, these absolutely gorgeous bottles, grouped by color combinations to work with your decor are a great way to fill an open shelf, coffee table or mix into your barware.
These beautiful natural sea fans have been on my mind since the show... I can picture them in so many spaces and remind me that summer is not too far away!
These John Derian trays are always a draw for me. They are sold at a few home decor stores near me, so I probably won't get them for the store. Their booth is always filled with fantastic inspiration.
The Oly booth is one of my favorites. I have a client I was shopping for and saw several things here that she will love. I'm thinking of the daybed mattress in the blue and white fabric with the natural burlap on the base.
This past holiday season, I got my daughter one of these old school Pop Phones to plug into her cell phone. She loved it and I like it so much better than her talking directly into her phone. I took these pictures for her...
She loves anything with an animal print - clearly did not get that from me!
Another booth for the teen in your life is this one. These puffy frames (they're not inflated, but stuffed) are kind of fun and silly.
Please share your favorites! I'd love to know what you like and what you don't!
To all designers/decorators, retailers and design bloggers - I would love to hear about your experiences with this trade show.
What are your strategies for tackling NYIGF?
Do you have a regular routine?
How many days do you spend at the show?
Do you order at the show or wait for it all to sink in and order after you get home like me?
Do you go twice a year?
Where do you eat lunch?
I'll have more photos from the show in my next post, but i'm running out the door now! Have a great day.
I love Valentine's Day. A day dedicated to love, romance and chocolate is just about as good as it gets.
And if there is one place that says romance, it's the Swiss Alps. I found this little spot a couple of years ago and have been saving it in my 'travel' folder. We don't have any plans for a trip to Switzerland anytime soon, but wouldn't it be the perfect love nest in which to spend time with the one you love?
Up until a few days ago I was unaware that my expectations of having a completely positive hotel experience in nyc were extremely low. I am what you'd call a hotel snob. I would rather stay home than go just about anywhere and stay in a not-so-great hotel. What I realized a few days ago, was that it really never occurred to me that somewhere, if I looked hard enough, there existed a hotel that possessed my two basic requirements (1. well kept - as in really clean and not shabby or rundown and 2. super quiet) plus a slew of non-essential, but highly appreciated extras all at a not exorbitant rate. That is, until I found a little pearl...
233 WEST 49TH STREET NEW YORK, NY 10019 | TEL: 800-801-3457 OR 212-245-4000
I had never heard of The Pearl Hotel, which opened in Oct 2010 until I happened upon it on Expedia, which offered a rate of $175/night and included wifi, continental breakfast, daily wine reception (never went to it, so I have no details). The reviews on Tripadvisor, Expedia, Google, etc were all excellent, so I thought I'd try it.
I checked in, and was immediately upgraded. Without asking. I shit you not.
photo from website
When I saw my room was on the 3rd floor, I asked if it faced the street (incidentally, I always prefer and request rooms in nyc that face brick walls or are so close to another building you could reach out and touch it. It means they're quiet! A view from a nyc hotel room is a total waste on me. Hawaii is another story.) The friendly front desk receptionist explained that they use a special 'sound proof glass' so even if there was noise outside my window I probably wouldn't hear it. Sound proof glass? Ha! Right! If there were such a thing, why wouldn't fancier hotels that rhyme with 'Alice' where I normally stay install them, at least on their lower floors???
The first thing I do when I check into any hotel is open the windows. Judge away! As I opened the incredibly heavy window, the street sounds came barrelling in as quickly as the blast of cold air. I closed the window. Silence. I opened it again. Honking, sirens, etc. Sound proof glass is a beautiful thing.
Are you noticing the cleanliness?
Carrera marble countertop on the bar area. Fridge below and microwave above. Keurig coffee maker and to-go cups.
photo from website
Many of the rooms have patios. I don't mean balconies, but full on lounge-chair-equipped-have-a-little-party-outside kind of patio.
Nice big full-length mirror.
The bathroom was awesome! Spacious shower and standard size tub, the shower had an overhead faucet. There was also a tv in the bathroom that faced the shower and tub.
Yes, those are Philosophy bath products!!!
photo from the website
There is a fitness room too.
I was in nyc to attend the Gift Fair, so as I was delighted to find out that the shuttle to the Javitts Center picks up at the Marriott Marquis only 3 blocks away.
Another great surprise about this hotel is that it is directly across the street from the theatre where Book of Mormon is playing. Tickets for this show are booked a year out. Every day they offer 22 front row seats for that night's performance. You just have to show up and put your name in a box and they will draw the winners 15 mins before the show. The crowd I saw out front was at least 100 people. I wished I had time to see a show and this one would have been my first choice.
As far as the Gift Fair, I found some great new vendors for the shop and for client projects. I posted a few finds on our FarmHouseUrban Facebook page. Please find us on Facebook (button is on the right side of the blog) and like us to see the behind the scenes stuff!