Here’s to a Fabulous 2010!

My friend Mica, of Business Bombshell recently sent me a fun survey about 2010 and I thought it would be fun to share it with you. I have changed some of the questions so that the survey is better suited for a design blog like LDV. It is a less formal version of a resolutions list.
In the past, I have made to-do lists for each year, which have actually yielded a pretty good success rate for me. However, this year, I have been racking my brain for resolutions for 2010 and haven’t come up with anything monumental. I think the goals and aspirations in this survey are probably about as close as I’ll get to making full-blown resolutions this year. I hope you’ll take the time to share your answers some of these questions! Happy New Year!

resolutions Image via Tobi Fairley

1. Design Trend to Embrace in 2010: I’d like to incorporate more rustic and antique pieces into my home. I love the new Belgian-inspired pieces that Restoration Hardware debuted in 2009. I don’t think it would be very “me” to decorate entirely this way, but I think it would be nice to incorporate some rustic, neutral pieces into a more eclectic look a la Sally Wheat.

wheat new Image via Cote de Texas

I would love to have Restoration Hardware’s swoon-worthy Brickmaker’s Table in my living room!
2. NEW Style Icon I love Olivia Palermo’s style, though any interpretation of mine would be on a much more modest budget than hers! I would also prefer to purchase more classic pieces as opposed to trendy ones and mix up my accessories.
3. 2010 Signature Look: I suppose it will continue to be mostly casual as that is what my job and lifestyle dictate. I don’t think my overall look will really change from this year into next.
I really like Reese Witherspoon’s approach to casual elegance. I tend to favor a more classic look, especially when dressing up. I like feminine details, like the ruffles on Reese’s blouse…
but I usually fancy jeans and a casual top paired with cute accessories on most days. Needless to say, I don’t have throngs of paparazzi surrounding me everyday!
4. NEW Favorite Pair of Shoes: I am craving a good pair of flat, black boots, maybe with some nice hardware.

I like these boots from J.Crew, but I would prefer some with hardware. Let me know if you have any recommendations for a nice pair under $200!
5. 2010 Hair Style Preference: I doubt that I will change the way I wear my hair in 2010. I will most likely keep it the same…long and straight. I might try the Olivia Palermo / Kardashian (don’t care for them, but they have such gorgeous hair!) waves sometime, but I think it would look best with my bangs pinned. I debated if I should grow out my bangs, but I think I will keep them since my hair looks more “done” with them.

olivia palermo hair
6. NEW Décor Color to Try in 2010: Pantone officially declared turquoise as the color of 2010. It happens to be one of my favorites, so I am excited about it. I still have a big crush on peacock blue and Hermes Orange, which I may try to infuse into my décor a bit more.

7. 2010 Design Inspiration: Rustic elegance inspired by European country houses and charming California Spanish architecture. This may have a little to do with the fact that I just saw It’s Complicated and fell in love with Meryl’s house in the movie. Plus, I visited my friend, Jeni in October in Northern California. Her home is gorgeous and she and her family are the embodiment of laid-back, California elegance.
Image via Cote de Texas
8. NEW Personal Goal: I plan to continue to work diligently on La Dolce Vita. I hope to find the continual inspiration to write refreshing posts with quality content to keep my readers engaged on a daily basis. A part of me would like to write a novel, but we’ll see if that happens!
paris_elle_decorImage Credit: ELLE DECOR
9. 2010 Milestones: July 1st will mark our fifth wedding anniversary! We plan to celebrate with another big trip to Europe. We are currently trying to figure out where we want to go and it seems the Andalucía region of Spain is in the lead. We also plan to start trying for a baby after our anniversary!
baby legs you are my fave
10. 2010 Aspirations To be the best wife, mom to Tate (and hopefully to a baby), daughter, sister, friend, tutor, and blogger that I can be.

Thank you so much for your continued support of La Dolce Vita. 2009 was a very exciting year for the blog, as well as for me personally. La Dolce Vita has definitely grown in both readership and quality of content over the past year and I have you to thank for both inspiring and motivating me. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see more or less of on the blog in the coming year. I hope that 2010 has great things in store for everyone!

“May the best of the past be the worst of the future.” – Irish Blessing

Merry Christmas!

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{My Little Christmas Cockapoo, Tate, 9 months}
I am officially signing off for the next couple of days in order to get everything ready for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner. 2009 has been a very good year for La Dolce Vita. Thank you for your continued support!
May the Christmas Season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, and your life with laughter. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Christmas Card 09 {Our 2009 Christmas Card}
I’ll see you Monday!

Sally Wheat’s Chic Christmas Decorations

CHRISTMAS  2009 119[1] {Sally’s Amazing Christmas Lights – I was dying over the cool chandelier! It is from Ikea, but unfortunately she bought it last year and it is no longer available.}
This past Saturday night, Fabian and I attended Sally Wheat’s fabulous Christmas soiree. If her name sounds familiar, you most likely know her from her many mentions in the blogosphere, including La Dolce Vita and of course, Cote de Texas’ “Stalking the Wheats” blog post. I was excited to attend my friend’s party, but I was equally excited for Fabian to see Sally’s home in person! It is such an inspiring space and I knew that Sally would do something amazing for her Christmas decorations.
CHRISTMAS  2009 093[1] In the time that I have been doing this blogging gig, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many designers/decorators and Sally sits at the top of my list. She is fiercely talented and possesses a style that is so unique, especially for Houston. She can take a traditional French or Swedish look and turn it on its head by infusing it with her eclectic and slightly subversive touch. In addition to her talent, I love Sally for being so sweet and down-to-earth. Like me, she is a former school teacher which makes me feel like we are kindred spirits. One can hope!
Anyhow, Sally encouraged me to take some pictures of the house if I wanted to (of course I did). I think Fabian was a little embarrassed that I took her up on her offer, but alas, I am a blogger. It’s what I do and quite frankly, I’ve taken pictures of more inappropriate places to share with my lovely readers. Remember the bathroom in London I photographed for you? I tried to be discreet and not bother the other partygoers, so I kept the flash off. I apologize if some of the pictures are a little dark, but I am sure that you will still be able to enjoy them.

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Upon walking in, we were greeted by these fabulous pom poms. I love the palette that Sally chose and that they aren’t typical Christmas colors (though my own decorations are red and green). The pom poms add such a fun, festive touch!CHRISTMAS  2009 101[1]
Sally’s formal living room looks a little different than it did when it was published in Houston House and Home earlier this year. The trellis chairs are still there, but everything else is new. Her Christmas tree is decorated with silver and fuchsia ornaments. I love her peace sign tree topper! The ornament wreath over the gilded mirror is great, too.

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Lovely Details
CHRISTMAS  2009 103[1] This little table in the foyer was new to me. I love the way Sally has styled it. I remember when she bought the coral rose at the Urban Market in May. She came over to my booth and told me she had just gotten it for a steal! After visiting Erin Martin’s showroom in St. Helena, I know that Sally definitely got a great deal.

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It’s a little difficult to tell in this picture, but the dining table has a few small flower arrangements and votives on it. Notice the disco ball ornaments hanging from the antique French chandelier.

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I love this vignette! It is one of my favorite things in Sally’s home. The table has been cleared of its usual accoutrements which have been replaced with reindeer and Christmas trees.

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Sally’s Beautiful Mantle

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Sally had the most beautiful mercury glass and plain glass candle holders everywhere. They lent such a lovely warmth to the party. The coffee table features a few of those candle holders along with cerulean roses and peppermint bark.

CHRISTMAS  2009 112[1]

The patio was all aglow.

CHRISTMAS  2009 117[1]

The Wheats had the most wonderful Motown A Capella group sing Christmas carols for their guests. We all joined in and had so much fun! “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was an all out sing-along and Fabian and I were asked to sing the part of “Two Turtledoves”. It was a blast!
From the décor to the entertainment to the food (catering from one of my favorite restaurants, Shade), the Wheats know how to throw a great party! Thanks for a lovely time, Sally!

La Dolce Vita’s Holiday Wish List

This year has been a wonderful one for me. I have received so many blessings, all of which I thank my lucky stars for each day. This holiday season, I would love nothing more than to have the love and health of my friends and family. Having said that, I’ve had a few people ask me what I’d like this year, so I put together a little list of items I would love to give or receive. I think they’re great ideas for any last minute shoppers, too! Most of these items are high on style, while being budget-friendly. I am positive they would be very well received by anyone who lives “La Dolce Vita”.
I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous, cheery desk calendar for a while. I love the graphic prints and each card can be flipped over and framed at the end of the year!


I’m old school. I physically write down appointments in a planner with a pen. My husband thinks it ridiculous that I don’t put my appointments in my iPhone, but I prefer a pen and paper. Each year, I get one of these National Gallery Leather Bound Planners. Barnes and Noble, $13.45
Gift Cards:
If you’re short on time or ideas, an Anthropologie gift card is always fabulous.
(Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, and J.Crew are great, too!)

The new style book by Eric Daman, Costume Designer for Gossip Girl is sure to be filled to the brim with eye candy. $20 on

The Sartorialist by Scott Schuman, $14.62 on
Hue by Kelly Wearstler, $32.97 on
penguin classics2
Penguin Classics Collection
Now available at Anthropologie and Amazon
I have these books and treasure them. They are my own little art collection and anyone would be thrilled to receive them!

Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire book would make for a fascinating and entertaining read. As you can probably tell by the series that I have published on La Dolce Vita, I love a good questionnaire!, $16.31
For the Home:
 Twinkle Living 16" Cotton Pillow - Brown/White Zig-Zag
Add a little style to any room with a Twinkle Living Chevron Pillow from Revival Home and Garden, $25
Who wouldn’t like these lovelies?
Harem Tea Glasses from Cerulean, $40
Personalized Gifts:
Personalized Melamine Tray, Fontaine Maury $45
Iomoi Desk Notepad with Lucite Holder, $35
One-Year E-Stationery Subscription on, $20
 Paloma Contreras' Personal Stationery
Bespoke Letterpress Stationery from ABCD Designs makes for an incredible and personal gift. I was lucky enough to win a set of 100 gorgeous cards that Amy Dragoo custom-designed for me.
Jewelry, Perfume, and Clothing:
Brass and Colored-Bamboo Bangles, $8 from
I’ve been lusting after Stella and Dot’s Lulu Vintage Glass Necklace for months now. $198
A bottle of my signature scent, Stella by Stella McCartney is always a welcomed gift. $70, Sephora

The aptly named, La Dolce Vita top from Francesca’s Collection, $34 would work in anyone’s wardrobe!

A Fabulous Staple: The Abbey Falls Wrap from Francesca’s Collection, $34

First Image Credit: Chris Everard via A Gift Wrapped Life