Top Chef Season 5 Starts Tonight!

Bravo produces reality shows like nobody’s business (Flipping Out, Real Housewives, anyone?). They are the best at what they do and have successfully gotten me hooked on nearly all of their reality shows. When it comes to the competition-based ones: Project Runway, Top Design, Make Me a Supermodel, and Top Chef, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Let’s see, I like fashion, design, models, and food…what’s a girl to do? Which show is your favorite?

All kidding aside, I have to say that Top Chef is my favorite of the competitions. Maybe it’s my love of food and cooking coupled with the bold personalities (Hung, Marcel, and perennial guest judge and culinary bad ass, Anthony Bourdain) or the occasional cutie (Sam) that keep me tuning in week after week. I like the constant element of surprise, the fact that the scariest looking dude likes using minimal ingredients and traditional methods, and the fact that every dish elicits a big reaction, be it good or bad.

Don’t forget to watch tonight!

Image via Bravo TV.

Friday Favorites 05.18.18

TGIF! After being out of the office for the past two weeks installing our window at Mecox for Legends of La Cienega and then back to Los Angeles the following week for the event itself, this was my first full week in my office in the month of May. As fun and glamorous as that sounds, and it certainly was at times, it is still work, so between our installation, taking meetings, networking events, and running back to the hotel to take conference calls and phone consultations, it can feel both exhilarating and exhausting. It’s been a very productive week, working on quite a few design projects, meeting with new clients, and for the past several days, the team from a big national magazine has been at my house photographing it for their September issue, so stay tuned!

I must admit, it’s getting increasingly more difficult to balance everything, which is why I was only able to do three blog posts this week rather than my usual five. I will continue to aim for five posts per week, but every now and then, I may come up short. I’d rather share something I’m truly excited about instead of just phoning it in. Anyhow, I am really looking forward to my first low-key weekend at home in a while. I plan to watch the Royal Wedding on Saturday morning and then we’re finally going to see Hamilton that evening! We’re not usually huge fans of musical theatre, but it seems like a must to see the cultural phenomenon everyone has raved about for the last couple of years. Here is what has been on my radar lately.

Design: In case you missed the huge news last week, ELLE DECOR just published its prestigious, annual A-List and I am extremely honored to be included. It truly is such a highlight in my career and I am so grateful to be included amongst so many incredibly talented people whom I admire and respect. It’s so nice to be recognized. As anyone in a creative career can attest to, it isn’t always easy. Presenting your creative ideas, whether to clients, editors, industry partners, or peers requires an incredible amount of vulnerability. You’re sharing the embodiment of your creativity and sometimes those ideas land but other times, they don’t. Having someone like the editors at ELLE DECOR essentially say that they are behind you and like what you are contributing to the design world is tremendously humbling. You can see the entire list, along with our six inch tall doob figurines in the June issue of ELLE DECOR.

Style: Are you planning to watch the Royal Wedding? It will be so fun to see the fanfare and of course to see Meghan’s dress, whether or not Harry decided to shave, and the main reason to tune in– Prince George and Princess Charlotte! I wish Harry and Meghan a lifetime of happiness. It is refreshing to see such a non-conventional, American commoner accepted into the Royal Family. 

Watch: Like so many, I am fascinated by the Kennedy family. The glamour, influence, legacy, and tragedy are mesmerizing. I watched the CNN documentary about the Kennedys and it was clear to me that Bobby was the true political star with endless potential. Tragically, as you know, he was assassinated like his brother John. It’s unbelievable how much tragedy has befallen this family. Many of you have recommended that I watch Bobby Kennedy for President on Netflix, so I plan to do so this weekend. You can watch the trailer here.

Health: Summer is just around the corner, which means many of us are feeling the pressure to get in shape! I enjoy eating and drinking wine a bit too much to go on a crazy diet, so instead focus on moderation. I just came across this list of “6 Protein Packed Foods to Help You Get in Shape“, so I’ll be working more of these foods into my diet.

Beauty: My skin is pretty fair, so I usually avoid the sun. However, after wearing more and more dresses as the weather warms up, I can’t help but think my pale legs and I could benefit from a little sun-kissed glow. I don’t love self-tanners because they’re usually messy and smelly, but I just read about what Miranda Kerr calls her Miracle, (Clean!) Self-Tanner and plan to order it and give it a try. Evidently, it works gradually, smells fantastic, and most importantly is certified organic and is free of DHA and other controversial chemicals.

Shop: With the warmer weather, sandal season is officially upon us! There are so many chic options this year and I plan to do a whole LDV Edit on the topic, but for now, here are my current favorites: One | Two | Three

The Style Files: Liliane Hart

Liliane Hart is a New York-based interior designer known for her fresh approach to classic interiors. Liliane founded Liliane Hart Interiors in Manhattan in 2007 after spending several years working for Jeffrey Bilhuber. Through the layering of color, texture, and custom furnishings, she and her team build upon the bones of well-made rooms to create interiors that are both classically gracious and delightfully fresh. Liliane has designed a vast array of houses in New York and throughout the Northeast, ranging from sophisticated city apartments to gracious country homes and coastal retreats, taking a personal and individualized approach to each one. The results are timeless and tailored, thanks to Liliane’s keen eye for detail and her brilliant sense of color. Her work has been recognized in several publications including Luxe, Traditional Home, and Connecticut Cottages & Gardens and she was named a 2017 “New Trad” by Traditional Home. Enjoy!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Liliane Hart: My style is classic and comfortable incorporating traditional forms combined with modern furnishings to create fresh versions of timeless design.

PC: How has living in New York influenced your aesthetic?

LH: New York City is both vibrant and impersonal. With so much inspiration at my fingertips, I’m able to create interiors that are unique in character while emphasizing each client’s personal tastes and style.

PC: What does your home say about you?

LH: My home is colorful, layered, comfortable and personal.

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

LH:I love looking at interiors books for inspiration and architectural detailing. The Design and Decoration building in NYC is also a great resource for fabric and trimmings. I like to start interior schemes with a few fabrics that the client loves!

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

LH: Marella Agnelli, Peggy Guggenheim, Carolina Herrera, Nancy Lancaster

{Style Icon, Marella Agnelli’s Pale Pink Bedroom in Marrakech as featured in Vogue}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

LH: Honesty and trustworthiness.

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

LH: Restaurants, I could go out every night!

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

LH: Jeffrey Bilhuber. I worked for him for many years and he is a wonderful mentor and a true inspiration. His talent and his passion for design is infectious.


PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

LH: Living a full and deeply satisfying life.

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

LH: We are currently starting work on a beautiful apartment on the Upper West Side overlooking Central park. It is a landmarked building with beautiful architectural elements. It is inspiring to work with beautiful architecture.

Go-To Outfit: Button down shirt, jeans and flats

Style Mantra: Keep it classic

Scent: Angel by Thierry Mugler

Piece of Jewelry: Watch, necklace, wedding rings

Color I Never Tire Of: White

Flower: Jasmine

Indispensable Design Element: Antiques

Era for Design: Late 19th- and 20th-century English, midcentury Scandinavian

Dream Project: Always love a beach house

Fabric/Textile: Printed Linen and Grasscloth

Hostess Gift: Pretty votives

Meal: Anything Italian

Drink: Lightly sweetened margarita

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Playing card games with my girls

3 Things I Love About My City: The pace, the opportunity and the nightlife

Weekend Destination: Charleston

Hotel: Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aires

City: Paris

Museum: MOMA

Artist: Basquiat, Cy Twombly

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Three little Birds” by Bob Marley

Actor/Actress: Jude Law

Prized Possession: My 2 girls

Risk Worth Taking: Starting a business

Greatest Extravagance: Quiet Time

Go-To Color Palette: Blue and green

Rule to Break: Start with the Rug

Movie Set Design: The Royal Tennenbaums

I can never have too many…Books

{Photography Courtesy of Liliane Hart}

Friday Favorites 01.05.18

Happy Friday! I hope you’ve been staying warm. It has been so cold in Houston this past week, but I know it is nothing in comparison to what our friends on the East Coast are currently experiencing. The weather is supposed to warm up significantly here this weekend and I am so ready for the warmer weather! It has been really nice being back in the office this week after taking a short break during the holidays. We are working on some exciting projects at Paloma Contreras Design and I have been working on writing the final components of my book like the dedication, acknowledgements, and all of the captions. Writing a book is truly a labor of love, but I have enjoyed the entire process so much. I’ve also made it a priority to make this a week of reflection and introspection and spent time outlining my goals for the new year as well as working on getting into a positive mindset to set the tone for the rest of the year. Have you set your goals for 2018? I would love to hear what the are! In the meantime, here is what is currently on my radar.

Design: asked a group of designers for their interior design predictions for 2018 and I was included amongst a wonderful group of my peers including Nick Olsen, Timothy Corrigan, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Suzanne and Lauren McGrath, Miles Redd, and Peter Dunham. My prediction? “I predict that classic, traditional design elements will be back in a big way in 2018! They’ve certainly never gone away entirely, but over the past few years, everyone has gone mad for modern. Given the uncertainty of our current political and social climate, it makes sense that people would gravitate to classic, sure-fire favorites to make their homes a true respite from the rest of the world. Get ready for antiques, traditional brown furniture, and printed fabrics such as floral chintzes to make their mark in the new year.” To read all 16 interior design predictions, click here.

Style: With the cold weather, all I have wanted lately is to bundle up in cozy sweaters. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time in the warmth of my house, opting to stay in rather than go out in the evenings. I tend to favor neutrals in my wardrobe, but even more so during the winter when it’s all black, gray, and camel, all the time! I am currently loving this cozy sweater, this alpaca cape, this comfy coat, and this classic cashmere turtleneck.

Travel: One of the things I think a lot about in the New Year is my travel schedule for the year. My work frequently takes me to places like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, High Point, and Atlanta, but I want to give some thought to where we might travel for personal reasons this year. I am sort of loyal to a fault, so when I love a place, I tend to keep going back there rather than exploring new places. There’s nothing wrong with that, although we might change that up this year! Harper’s Bazaar just published their list of the 18 Best Places to Travel in 2018 and it features several destinations that I have yet to visit, but that have been on my list for a long time such as Mexico City, Mallorca, Charleston, and Big Sur, California. 

Events: Mark your calendars, Atlanta friends! The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market is taking place at AmericasMart January 9th – 16th. I’ll  be heading to Atlanta next Friday and will be speaking on a panel, Design Coast to Coast, along with fellow designers and bloggers, Amber Lewis and Erin Gates on Saturday, January 13th at 10:00 am in Building 1, Floor 14, Vignette Gallery, 14-D-9. It should be fun to hear our different perspectives on design as we collectively represent the West Coast, the East Coast, and the South. I hope you’ll come by and say hello!

Health: One of my goals for 2018 is to make healthier choices, whether that means eating healthier, exercising more often, or drinking less. I indulged way too much over the holidays, so I need to make some changes. I didn’t want to tie arbitrary numbers to that goal such as “go to the gym 4 times per week” or “lose 10 pounds” since my life can get pretty hectic with my work and travel schedule sometimes. I don’t want to set myself up for failure! One of the things I definitely want to do is drink less. I love drinking wine with dinner in the evenings, but I could probably stand to do it less often. This interesting article from My Domaine outlines “What Happens to Your Body When You Cut Out Alcohol“.

Shop: Few things are as chic as creamy, winter whites, especially in ones wardrobe. I am currently obsessed with this chunky sweater, these chic jeans in the perfect warm shade of white, and these ultra-cool zodiac mules, shown in my Scorpio sign, but available in all signs.



Friday Favorites 12.15.17

Happy Friday! It has been a great week, but I am feeling a little run down and am ready for the weekend. Fabian and I started off the week on long weekend getaway in Napa Valley. We headed home and back to reality on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, we had our Paloma Contreras Design team’s holiday dinner at Le Colonial, a chic and delicious Vietnamese restaurant in River Oaks District. It was so nice celebrating the holiday season and another wonderful year with my amazing, hard-working team and their sweet spouses. I am so lucky to have such a fabulous team. I thank my lucky stars everyday! This weekend, I am looking forward to getting a facial, possibly going to the movies, and finally binge-watching Season 2 of The Crown since we were out of town last weekend! What has been on your radar this week?

Design: Style arbiter, Jenna Lyons’ new Soho loft was recently featured by The New York Times and it is just as chic and inspiring as you would imagine. You can see a full tour here.

Style: Ever since my In the Mood post earlier this month, I have been “seeing red” and have been so drawn to this beautiful, rich hue. What is more glamorous than a lady in red? I wore this dress from Ann Mashburn to our holiday party the other night and previously wore it to another dinner a few weeks ago and have gotten so many compliments. Plus, it is so comfortable! This simple gown, this lace dress, and this column gown with bow detail are all super chic if you’re also feeling the red vibes!

Read: One of my favorite new books is The Authentics by Dara Caponigro, Creative Director of Schumacher and lauded photographer, Melanie Acevedo. The Authentics profiles luminaries from the worlds of art, design, and fashion including Kelly Wearstler, Ashley and Katalina Hicks, Nicky Haslam, and Joseph Dirand among others, who go beyond simply living stylishly, but also apply a sense of authenticity and individuality to everything they do. 

Watch: I know most of you have probably already watches Season 2 of The Crown, but I am so excited to delve in this weekend! I am hoping it is as good as the first season and am looking forward to seeing The Kennedys and Lord Snowdon enter the lives of the Royals. On a side note, does anyone else have trouble hearing what they are saying on this show? The soundtrack is always so loud and seems to overpower people when they are speaking. I’ve tried adjusting my TV’s settings, but it seems like it might be a sound editing issue. Either that, or I am crazy!

Eat: I am hosting Christmas Eve dinner at our home and will also be hosting another family dinner a few nights later, so I am currently trying to figure out what to serve. Some sort of roasted meat always seems like a good option when serving a big crowd. I’m thinking a roasted tenderloin will definitely be on the menu for one of the dinners. Food & Wine has some great, “Easy Holiday Recipes” that I have been perusing. What do you like to serve at the holidays?

Shop: Have you checked everyone off of your holiday shopping list? If you still have some shopping to do, look no further than this year’s LDV Holiday Gift Guides for stylish, thoughtful gifts that are sure to please everyone on your list! Shop them all here: For the Hostess | For the Decor-Obsessed | For Her | For Him | For Children | Under $150