29 May, 2009

Where to Summer?

Over an Ethiopian dinner Monday night, Babe and I planned our dream summer itinerary. The discussion lasted throughout the meal and wrapped up only after we had walked to Dolcezza for gelato and then home.

First off, would be a long weekend in Chicago to see "Cy Twombly: The New World, Selected Works 2000-20007" at the Art Institute of Chicago. Being presented in conjunction with the opening of Renzo Piano's Modern Wing, the retrospective of sculptures, paintings, photographs and mixed media pieces is on display from May 16 to September 13 and we would give our eye teeth to see our favorite artist.

Then we'd return to Bermuda, for a brief four or so days, just so I could swim in that beautiful turquoise water and bronze myself from sun up til sun down again. Bermuda is not known for it's food or shopping so I would have no distractions while working on my world class tan.

The entire month of July would be spent in our beloved Southampton where I could occupy my free time stalking The Real Housewives of NYC instead of my usual suspect, Ina Garten. And, per usual, my shopping would rival that of Alex and Simon.

Back from our month in the South Fork and ready to give back, we'd pack our weekender's for several days in New Orleans volunteering at Habitat For Humanity. Yes, I must confess...I stole this idea from the Roloff's.

And, in August, the pièce de résistance would be a holiday in Positano staying at either Le Sirenuse...

Or the Hotel Santa Caterina on the Amalfi Coast.

This trip would not, could not, be complete without a jaunt over to Capri and a couple of days at the Grand Hotel Quisisana where I could visit my friend Costanzo and pick up a just few more pairs of his Canfora sandals to add to the collection.

Now, Babe's not on board with this part of the plan, yet, but I am just dying to go to a Dude Ranch somewhere in Montana or Wyoming. Sooo, if we are too exhausted from our early summer travels, and not up for a trip abroad, I'll be packing my chaps and headin out west.

Disclaimer...this is all just fancy planning and I will more than likely be spending the bulk of my summer in Fenwick Island and at the Volta pool. But, a girl can dream while she's feigning to like Ethiopian...

Kindness of Amy Fahrenkopf for the hotels and personal driver recommendations. And, a special thank you to "the most" private Babe for allowing me to post his handsome picture, even if it was under duress...

28 May, 2009

As Promised

It's so hard to believe our little Hilbils has gone from this...

...to this, in the blink of an eye.

As I mentioned earlier, this past weekend was centered around HRH's graduation festivities and the celebration kicked off with an informal crab feast at my sister's beach house.

Babe, who was away on business, remarked that Hilary looked like one of the Soprano's in her head to toe sweats when he saw these pics. I told him the sea air had been chilly and "sweats" had pretty much been de rigueur for the soiree with everyone eventually pilfering the hostesses collection of Soprano's duds.

The day of graduation involved an eleventh hour shoe switch from strapless, 3 inch Manolo Blahnik's to a pair of Aunt Mandy's Ralph Lauren sandals that strapped securely around the ankle. Emma had an unfortunate "incident" a couple of months ago, involving a pair of 4 inch Blahnik's, resulting in the loss of her front teeth so both girls, and their mother, are now, understandably, a little Blahnik shy.

Hilary's dress was by BCBG and the silk flower hair tie was a J. Crew Outlet find.

Pretending to ham it up with the school mascot, the Mallard, but really looking for any ole excuse to display her new David Yurman graduation present. Puhleeze...who do you think you inherited those bag of tricks from Paris?

Along with receiving the largest academic scholarship in her graduating class, Hilary was also recognized for being a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, the Art National Honor Society and has been on the Headmaster's academic list every term since 6th grade. That bag of tricks she did not inherit from moi.

Congratulations Hilbils and the entire WPS class of 2009. Best of luck in South Carolina! And, please, leave the Blahnik's at home and return with all your teeth intact...

27 May, 2009

Tucker Blair Needlepoint Flip Flops Debut

I have been known to snootily brag about doing all my own needlework. And, I also admit to tilting my nose ever so slightly skyward when Babe says, "Oh, my wife made that", when receiving a compliment on one of his belt's. Très unflattering trait I know...

But, I think I may have to swallow my pride and buy (gulp) Babe a pair of the Tucker Blair needlepoint flip flops. I am really enamored with them.

My first choice for him are the nautical flags in the Nantucket red although, the lobsters are running a close second. And...I'm hoping they have some crossed tennis racquets or shingled cottages in the pipeline for moi.

There is also a small confession to be made while we are on said topic...Babe has a Tucker Blair skull and crossbones keychain that everyone just assumes I made. Ahhh...Oprah's right, the truth does set you free.

26 May, 2009

Calypso Purchase Du Jour

This weekend was all about Hilary's graduation, but more on that later. Don't fret Paris, you'll have an entire posting devoted to you by week's end.

During the pre-graduation photo op though, I was zeroing in on Emma's recent Calypso purchase (when I wasn't completely enraptured by the starlet, natch). Within 24 hours I had successfully scouted around and found her Kimberly dress in purple, my size, and on sale at the Calypso Outlet in Soho. I had just enough left on my store credit with $8 to spare. I may have to borrow/Indian give those Calypso sandals as well to recreate the entire smashing effect.

I was also lusting after my sister Julie's CK Bradley Aurora dress but, would probably prefer the 3/4 length sleeve Islamorada version for myself. I don't think Babe's going to believe me if I say I have a store credit there as well. I can only play that card so many times...

Kindness of Emma for not caring one lick that I copy her dress...and, nice bobby pin accent on the hem of your dress goofball.

22 May, 2009

Puttin on the Dog

This month's Elle Decor featured the cutest Nantucket inspired doggie collars and leads in all the right preppy colors and designs.

We've been trying to hold out on our dream pooch til we have more than 500sq ft of living space but, I am chomping at the bit even more now that I've spied these proper pet accoutrement's by Mascot.

How shwanky would our Old English Sheepdogs look in these little numbers during the warm months?

We've been told that if you're interested in this breed it's best to get them in pairs since they apparently suffer from separation anxiety and prefer to not be left alone. Sooo the pink for one and the green for the other, natch.

And, if God decides not to grace me with my dream, identical twin girls, then "Liz and Lil" will be bestowed upon the pups. Names like that would surely require that they have Mascots matching Lilly Pulitzer Collars as well.

And, for a certain, special calendar boy known to all as Monty Morris...

May I suggest the debonair Old School Repp Collar in green?

Kindness of Melissa C. Morris for graciously allowing me to name drop Monty and pilfer her pictures on occasion.

21 May, 2009

More from "The Works of Uncle David"

Above is a picture of my Uncle David's dog, Ralph, who is listed as "son of " David and Carol and "brother of " Melissa in our family tree. And, below follows a recent correspondence between a long lost, distant relative looking for some help with the family tree and my très funny uncle:

Hello there,

I am trying to contact David Cully who is developing the Stephen's Glen project. I think we may be related. Can you either send me his email address or forward the following? Thanks so much.


Hey there. Got your message [sic] yes, I am the son of Dorothy Gibson Cully, RIP.

But I need to tell you right up front - if you’re after a piece of the family fortune, you’re a day late and many dollars short. My sister Barbara ran off with just about all of the inheritance money, bought a fancy place in Zihuatanejo, and left the rest of here to freeze through the winters while she dances the Mariachi with her Mexican lover, Frostito. I think he sells drugs. Otherwise we’re all fine.

Now tell me again how we’re related. If Jeremiah and Catherine were siblings, how did they come to be married and have great grandchildren? And what’s with the de Aguiar name? Everyone knows that Carews, Cullys and Gibsons only marry Irish, or at least hard drinking Scots. Very suspicious.

Of course I am not the suspicious type, but my sister Carol is – what with all of this talk about money and you showing up suddenly with a weird last name; well, she’s kind of like Jessica Fletcher – picks up on all of these clues, if you know what I mean..

Anyway, please tell me how you tracked me down and more about the family tree as you know it. Hope to hear from you soon.


Ha! Now I know who wrote that obit!

I assure you that I'm not searching for anything, though I might need a
hideout in Zihuatanejo, so if you could send me Frostito's (sounds like some
sort of horrible flavored margarita) number, that would be helpful.

About a year ago I started an online family tree. I knew my mom had 35 first
cousins but I'd never met one. A few letters (paper!) later, I had one
contact, my mother's cousin Kathy Smith in Virginia. Well, this lady knew
all of her cousins, and pretty sure I had more names and ancestry than I
knew what to do with. And it turns out that I was pretty good with Google.
So when one third cousin linked me up with a list of Catherine Carew's
grandchildren, I dutifully popped their names into Google, and out came your
mom's obituary.

Six months later, I google "David Cully Raleigh" and, well, it's not that
common a name.

So, to answer your question, my great grandfather was Jeremiah (father of
Robert, father of Diane, mother of me). Jeremiah's sister was Catherine, who
married Robert Heard, had a daughter Kathleen, who had a daughter Dorothy
(your mom). I'll send you an invitation to the online tree. Of course my
grandfather was thrilled when his daughter married a Cuban.

I'll send you an invitation to the online tree so you can check it out.


"Frostito" - my maiden name is Frost
Reference to Zihuatanejo - my parents have a home in Mexico
"sells drugs" - pharmaceuticals
"sister Carol" - of Belgian loafer bogarting fame

Looks as though the tongue-in-cheek trait is a dominate gene...

20 May, 2009

Hostess With the Mostest Gift

This past Saturday Stefan from Architect Design hosted a high tea for a select few DC design bloggers. I still have no idea how I slipped through the velvet rope but, I was thrilled to be included.

I showed up bearing my most favorite Vie Luxe candle as a hostess gift hoping to impress. Founded by the fashionable socialite Majorie Gubelmann (sold!) and designer Daniel Benedict (and sold!), Vie Luxe luxury home fragrances are based on some of the duo's favorite travel destinations. I myself have not ventured past the Buenos Aires scent.

Ever since discovering this scent at the spa in Charleston Place I have developed a monthly addiction and have even lured several friends and neighbors into my Buenos Aires Vie Luxe candle cult. My habit has gotten so bad that I think I may have to graduate to the "three wick" version tout de suite!

Thank you Stefan for a lovely afternoon with such fabulous company...

19 May, 2009

Spring Jewel Cleaning

Every season I like to clean the jewels (term used très loosly) until they sparkle.

I polish all the sterling pieces to within an inch of their lives...

And, gently wash all the gold with warm water, general kitchen soap and a soft brush.

It's unbelievable how filthy everything becomes between cleanings especially watches.

A few very tense moments as le commandant carefully inspects each finished piece...

And, it looks as though the watch is being pulled from the lineup for not passing the white glove inspection.

18 May, 2009

Breaking Out the Summer Look

It's time to put the furs in storage for the summer like mummy...

But, this new groomer was a little overzealous with the shears...

And, we are feeling extremely naked and insecure...

It will take about a week but, we will eventually acclimate. In the meantime, I will sleep across mummy's face each night to keep warm. I will also feel obligated to wake her up with kisses/microdermabrasion periodically throughout the night just so I can get some extra lovin and attention.

And, I will remain wrapped in pashmina even if it means I have a periwinkle cashmere cape dragging behind me in the rare moments I do decide to get up and walk around. But, for the most part I will hold my bladder indefinitely to avoid leaving my toasty cocoon. And, to further facilitate this campaign I have officially begun a drinking strike. See, y'all in about a week...

15 May, 2009

Pinnell Custom Leather

My Chuck Pinnell custom leathered needlepoint belt arrived today and I knew as soon as I saw the packaging that it was going to be exceptional.

I have a real fondness and appreciation for great packaging...

Other excitement worthy, quality "packagers" include Polo.com and Patricia at PVE Design

I usually have my needlepoint belts "finished" by the ladies at The Elizabeth Turner Collection but, this one I decided to have custom leathered and buckled by Chuck Pinnell, aka The Chap Man. A master craftsman, Chuck was selected as Saddler to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

From the equestrian teams of 37 different nations to a furry judge of one...

Chuck also hand makes these gorgeous leather and ostrich with sterling keychains which are sold at my favorite Charlottesville fine furnishing's store, And George. I have the Tiffany blue ostrich one, that I love, but now I'm eying up a new one in either the navy or the Hermes orange leather (insert Babe rolling his eyes...)

PS...received an note from Chuck this morning letting me know that he hopes to have a new and improved website up by this summer. And, ending on a funny note...I showed Babe this posting last night when he arrived back in town. His jaw dropped when he saw all the keychains, in what he thought was a staged photo on one of our plates, and he said, "are...all...those...yours?!" hahahaaa....poor Babe

14 May, 2009

Happy Birthday Nana

Since the 14th of May is my late Nana's birthday, I thought I'd share her infamous obituary with you. Written by my mother's brother, my Uncle David, it debuted in Raleigh's News and Observer but soon gained international notoriety.

The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC:
ON JUNE 3, 2005 at 10:45 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee, Dorothy Gibson Cully, 86, died peacefully, while in the loving care of her two favorite children, Barbara and David. All of her breath leaked out.

The mother of four children, grandmother to 11, great-grandmother to nine, devoted wife for 56 years to the late Ralph Chester Cully and a true friend to many, Dot had been active as a volunteer in the Catholic Church and other community charities for much of the past 25 years.

She was born the second child of six in 1919 as Frances Dorothy Gibson, daughter to Kathleen Heard Gibson and Calvin Hooper Gibson, an inventor best known as the first person since the Middle Ages to calculate the arcane lead-to-gold formula. Unable to actually prove this complex theory scientifically, and frustrated by the cruel conspiracy of the so-called "scientific community" working against his efforts, he ultimately stuck his head in a heated gas oven with a golden delicious apple propped in his mouth. Miraculously, the apple was saved for the evening dessert. Calvin was not.

Native Marylanders and long time Baltimore, Kent Island and Ocean City residents, Ralph and Dot later resided in Lakeland, Florida and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Several years after Ralph's death, Dot moved to Raleigh in 2001, where she lived with her son, David.

At the time of her death, Dot was visiting her daughter, Carol in Memphis. Carol and her husband, Ron, away from home attending a "very important conference" at a posh Florida resort, rushed home 10 days later after learning of the death. Dot's other children, dutifully at their mother's side helping with the normal last minute arrangements - hospice notification, funeral parlor notice, revising the last will, etc. - happily picked up the considerable slack of the absent former heiress.

Dot is warmly remembered as a generous, spiritually strong, resourceful, tolerant and smart woman, who was always ready to help and never judged others or their shortcomings. Dot always found time to knit sweaters, sew quilts and send written notes to the family children, all while working a full time job, volunteering as Girl Scout leader and donating considerable time to local charities and the neighborhood Catholic Church.

Dot graduated from Eastern High School at 15, worked in Baltimore full time from 1934 to 1979, beginning as a factory worker at Cross & Blackwell and retiring after 30 years as property manager and controller for a Baltimore conglomerate, Housing Engineering Company, all while raising four children, two of who are fairly normal.

An Irishwoman proud of and curious about her heritage, she was a voracious reader of historical novels, particularly those about the glories and trials of Ireland. Dot also loved to travel, her favorite destination being Eire's auld sod, where she dreamed of the magic, mystery and legend of the Emerald Isle.

Dot Cully is survived by her sisters, Ginny Torrico in Virginia, Marian Lee in Florida and Eileen Adams in Baltimore; her brother, Russell Gibson of Fallston, Maryland; her children, Barbara Frost of Ocean City, Maryland, Carol Meroney of Memphis, Tennessee, David Cully of Raleigh, North Carolina and Stephen Cully of Baltimore, Maryland.

Contributions to the Wake County (NC) Hospice Services are welcomed. Opinions about the details of this obit are not, since Mom would have liked it this way.

As you may see, I do indeed come by this honestly, for the tongue-in-cheek apple doesn't fall far from the tongue-in-cheek tree...

13 May, 2009

Old Chatham Sheepherding Company

A couple of years ago bff Kimba met Nancy Clark, the owner of Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, while in neighboring chairs during a pedicure in Charlotte, NC. Her discovery of Old Chatham's delicious sheep's milk yogurt and cheeses was quickly relayed to me, natch.

Kimba is to food and wine what I am to prep, so if she tells me something is yummy or sophisticated in the arena of gastronomy I treat it like gospel (she also gets credit for my love of Vueve Cliquot and taught me how to order a Bombay Sapphire on the rocks).

I am now addicted to Old Chatham's maple sheep's milk yogurt (Kimba prefers the Ginger) and became so desperate last summer when I couldn't find it at the beach that I started having it shipped by the case. That is, I did until Babe got wind of my little luxury and put his moccasined foot down. My mother then started smuggling it in from Wegmans in Baltimore for me. Besides being scrumptious, and non upsetting to my lactose intolerant constitution, it's also double the protein and lower in sugar than cow's milk yogurt and it's gluten free. So, well worth the hassle (and the wrath of Babe and, eventually my dad).

Now, my Old Chatham habit has expanded to include their award winning Nancy's Hudson Valley Camembert which is c'est magnifique! This year's Christmas gift to my parents was a Simon Pearce cheeseboard and a selection of artisanal cheeses including Nancy's Camembert. My dad ended up smuggling the Camembert, in his suitcase, to their home in Mexico. They enjoyed it so much that I was asked to bring some more to Easter dinner. But, if you'd prefer to be très boring and bypass the whole covert, smuggling and luxury shipping operations just pick up their yogurts and cheeses at your local Whole Foods. Bon appétit!

PS...I am not a fan of their plain yogurt but, the ladies of Old Chatham confided in me that the maple flavor is just the plain with about a teaspoon of maple syrup mixed in. So, if your left with only the plain, maybe you could try doctoring with a little honey. Also, for you G'towners, unfortunately the Glover Park Whole Foods only carries the plain (boo hoo...) but you can find the yummy flavors at Dean and Deluca.

Kindness of Kimba...does this make amends for "outing" you in the closet piece?