Tag Archives: express

Gardens….In Bloom

20 Jun

It’s important to make your spaces enjoyable, there should be a certain feeling that you want to convey!  The feeling should express, I don’t want to leave – OR – I can’t wait to get home.  In earlier posts, I provided you with quizzes to find your personal style or suggested using a paint color, that you love, but you’ve dare to tell anyone that you’re; let’s say BOLD!   A home should be filled with furniture, flowers, textures..things that make you just happy.  Whatever you decide, you don’t have to always hire a designer,  decorator or landscaper.. there are various magazines, which can give you great ideas.    However,  if you just don’t know how, what to do or where to start, they are available to help you; making the experience and journey enjoyable!

Yes! Your space should be exactly how you want it to BE!  One of my dearest friends, Mark Kramer, Executive Chef, Creative Director & Proprietor of Susan Lawrence in Chappaqua NY for years has often talked about changing the gardens surrounding his Patterson, NY home to show how he feels.   Mark has such a great appreciation of life and has had this internal vision for maintaining a certain balance for quite some time, often speaking to him constantly….that he decided  “I better do this; it’s very important to me.” http://www.susanlawrence.com/home/biography.aspx

I had the great opportunity of seeing his vision from start to fruition!  Mark was so very passionate about this project, taking careful consideration on selecting the right people to help him.  Now and then, he would in passing speak with Michael Spitzer; renown landscape architect and partner of New York City landscape architecture firm Landgarden®.  He decided to call him; which began a wonderful collaboration of creativity; as well as a wonderful friendship for them both. http://www.landgarden.com/

Michael Spitzer’s work is quite remarkable; however the careful detail plan he developed on Mark’s vision was beyond superb!  I am so used to looking at floor plans; that I’d remember that day when Mark received the plans drawn up by Michael Spitzer.  Mark spreaded them across his dining room table;  I was simply floored and Mark was so excited; he was actually blushing in joy.  Every foot of  the proposed land was considered;  the intended flower beds, tree types, pathways, inclinations, daylight direction and water irrigations! Every foot (giggle)!

Now this is the time, the grounds would depict their true blooming period; the end of May, the  middle of June.  So Mark called me up and invited me over to see (he was so excited).  Well the experience for me was kind of surreal, because when you arrive to Mark’s home, you first walk up a driveway, a normal driveway to a very inviting tall white gate, with this very intriguing black door handle to enter.  

Upon going through the gate, you’re simply blown away!  It’s like partaking in story you’ve read about, where you’ve moved from reality to enchantment!   You are greeted with the sound of various birds just chirping away, a beautiful assortment of flower beds, in so many varieties and such an array of colors.  There’s this alliance of holly trees, lilac trees (my favorite) and these poignant evergreens standing tall.  As I walked closer, the luring fragrance of jasmine just captured my attention as I approached the first sitting area!  Then, when I turn slightly to my far left, I then saw an alluring white trellis protecting this beautiful herb garden!  

In my amazement, it got even better!  In between my footsteps, I then heard this trickling of water; very calm I must say.  As we both walked together a little further, I found slate steps descending down to a miniature patio!  As I stepped down, I found to my surprise I was right in front of a koi pond with this simple, yet quite lovely waterfall.   The koi pond filled with ten of the most happiest exotic, rather large koi fish you ever did want to see.  I kid you not, as I sat there for a while at the foot of the pond I noticed all sorts of nature friends around; from the littlest frog to these two chipmunks popping in out of the cat mint shrubs.  Even the bumble bees were quite friendly! 

If asked what’s my favorite thing,  I can’t decide whether it’s the scrumptious peonies or even the secret path to wisp you beyond the grounds; which literally gives anyone the invitation to have another magical moment.  The type of enjoyment which reminds you of your childhood hide and seek days!   Pssst, take a sneak peek of Mark Kramer’s gardens!

While sitting drinking my Elderflower martini, Mark expressed how he now wanted to concentrate on the home’s interior.   A few rooms have been changed (which he is so pleased with), however understands the same approach as he did for his gardens, should be done for the home’s interior.   To help him with this task, Mark indicated that he recently met with Marsha Russell of Satinwood, Ltd Interior Design to share his ideas and is so excited that they are going to be working together! 


Marsha Russell recently provided her expertise to one of America’s favorite actresses, Meg Ryan!   You can see Meg Ryan’s beach home in the June issue of ELLE DECOR titled “relax”!  A five-year project, where Meg Ryan’s Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts’ home also scripted a wonderful collaboration between them both, reflecting Meg’s personal style.   While talking with Mark, I’d looked through the pages more intently, Meg Ryan’s home is simply divine!  My favorite is the dining area, it’s informal, yet very inviting and the multitude of  beautiful indoor windows reflects the sunlight spectacularly; incredible!  I will say this…without a doubt, Mark will definitely be in great hands with Marsha Russell!  If you get a chance review the issue to see Meg Ryan’s home; it’s full of great ideas!



Well, it’s time for me to leave (I didn’t want to go)! Leaving through the same gate I entered only 2 hours ago, I am feeling like I’m placing a bookmark in a magical book I’m reading, pausing the story and now here I’m at my car searching for my keys in my pocketbook!   Back to driving and the traffic lights; but oh what a good feeling I will have while driving home!  I am truly happy for my friend, truly!!!   

Be well – Letia 😉

 lee@lmlifestyleanddesign.com  Photos by ELLE DECOR Magazine 

In 2 Weeks! Happy Father’s Day!

9 Jun

It’s nothing like spending time with your Dad!  Their the ones who you think of; after Mom of course! 

There’s nothing like going to that person you deemed as a mentor, but you really considered him as a Father (like a Dad), he’s been the life line you so needed.

Fathers always let you know how much and how important it is to have YOU in their life.    Pop, Dad, Daddy, Big Guy, Pape and PaPa; I could go on and on, but whatever you call him.. he will answer; because he has incorporated YOUR title into his life!    

Yes, you still have time, to put some thought into it!  What are you going to buy?  What are you going to do?  There are some cool things that you can give him!   Now Fathers are so much simpler, not that much pressure, for they will be glad with anything that you give them!  Because, they are just that way…not a lot fuss, happy to be appreciated and proud.   The unexpected is the expected for them; if you know what I mean.

Sometimes, it’s not just buying the gift, but spending the time.  Maybe he’s been meaning to go to the local hardware store to get that lumber, to fix that one thing that he has put off for a while now.  Suggest doing it together (however.. you got to let him do the talking)!  

Perhaps, he’s just fine with the TV he has, the 50″ TV!!!   However, wouldn’t it be great  to contact his cable carrier and order him a free month of his favorite Sports Channel, so he can be really “IN” on the latest!   Maybe order some movies, pick out  new DVD’s?   There are so many things that you both could do together!  Whatever you decide, just know he will be in 7th heaven knowing that you have acknowledged and celebrated him on this upcoming Happy Father’s Day!

I’ve jotted down just a few ideas!

  • Log on to groupon to see if there are any specials upcoming for Happy Father’s Day:  www.groupon.com
  • Check out Pottery Barn, they have some nice items for Dad:  www.potterybarn.com
  • If Dad is in the service or away, log on to www.hallmark.com and send a Happy Father’s Day e-card! 
  • A large Tool chest to hold all his tools, so it’s not scattered all around in the house and garage (not a bad idea!).
  • He loves gadgets, any kind of gadgets!  Try www.worldofgadgets.biz
  • Purchase a nice chair with a pattern (the decorator in me talking)!  He will more likely to prefer this, for he may have already grown tired of the couch.  So you know, a chair means “my territory” and can easily be accessible and let people know to get out of it too (quickly)!
  • Scan some of your favorite photos of your Dad and family moments, then register on www.shutterfly.com/photo-books and set up a book to present to him.  If you start now, you will be able to have it in time for Happy Father’s Day.
  • Pencils monogrammed with his initials!

Moms, you also may want to express to your children, that Dad is pretty terrific and really not corny at all..he’s kind of cool!   So, why not have them do something special for him too!

  • Have the kids, take him to the movies (the one he really wanted to see a few weeks ago)! 
  • Make their own personal cards or have them select their own e-cards; maybe e-mails too.
  • Clean up the front yard or clean his car; perhaps the garage!
  • Help you make a Happy Father’s Day dinner (his favorite). 

Remember, whatever you decide, just have fun and ENJOY!   You have two weeks, now get going!!  It’s Sunday – June 20th.

Be well – Letia 😉

Gulf Coast Oil Disaster!

5 Jun

A Mess!

What a week and it’s has me upset!!!   There has been no luck in correcting the oil leak at the Gulf!  Al Gore who we look for guidance on how to save our environment was experiencing some life changes himself; by announcing publicly that his marriage to Tippy Gore has ended.  I was wondering why, we didn’t hear from him sooner about the disaster, it’s understandable!  Then to add to the mayhem, a BP Executive did not take in consideration the families of the workers who died in the initial explosion, when doing his press interview!  He later apologized, he was real insensitive and following it up by   numerous public relations efforts with BP commercials (similar to Totoya, last month)!  Not people relations at all! 

We have environmentalists, families and a whole sea industry effected by this, the worst U.S. Environmental disaster ever!  EVER! Yes, I’ve watched the news and was thinking like everybody else, it would be resolved in a matter of a week; eight days tops!  Not the case; WE ARE HEADING TO THE  5TH WEEK!  

To understand the magnitude in all actuality, it was just stated on CNN, that today BP has collected 6,000 barrels of oil in the first 24 hours of pumping oil from a ruptured well up to a drill ship! 

The Gulf is such a beautiful place, it’s the USA’s best kept secret.  For any family; who can’t get away on a vacation to a tropical island, the Gulf Shores was the place to be. I’ve been on the shores of Alabama, a couple of times.  

Now there’s so much in jeopardy!   Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama’s wildlife, the surplus of fish, businesses and people’s livelihood; not protected from this; they are really hurting!!!  The Hurricane season is nearing and the spill;  it’s spreading to Florida’s Panhandle!  There are workers who are working 24/7 to correct the problem;  they are turning ill and even being hospitalized!  Volunteers are at the shores…everyone is doing they part to help, trying everything they know! It’s a complete freaking ______ mess!!!!!!!!!!!!  

We have experienced so much with our economy, when you say to yourself, what else can happen?  We have this!  However; I must say WE Americans are resilient and it’s clear in all the efforts which are in place.   For years, we have talked and discussed about protecting the environment; to find out there were no BP contingency plans for this mishap!  Ok, yes; it may have been written, documented and submitted by BP to meet U.S. regulations, but as we now know, it DID N’T WORK!    

So in the days to come I hoping, actually praying that this gets resolved.  The investigation of who, what and where can start later!  This disaster affects everyone in one form, shape or fashion; whether it’s work, knowing someone in that part of the United States, our food shopping, our fuel prices, dining, a family member who is a volunteer, a U.S. serviceman!  Our deliveries, home building, travelling; the oil spill affects us!  

This has me thinking about what can we do; what part can we do to protect the environment also.  We hear about this all the time don’t we?  Then we just keep doing the same thing normally, day-to-day stuff.  I was thinking if you can just change one thing and be consistent with it, we can help!  🙂 

I’ m not going to give you a list of things to do, you’ve heard them all before!  I just wanted you to just to really think about it.  I also am going to do more on my part too, by using some sustainable items in the home too!   For example like bamboo plates and utensils; instead of plastic at my barbecues!  You are probably saying, Hugh?  This is the first thing that came to my mind, while writing!  It’s simple, right?  Nevermind! 

Anyway, if you are like me and need to express your thoughts about this Gulf Coast Oil disaster and/or whether you decided to change something in your every day-to-day life to make our environment better; let me know what is it.  Either leave a comment or e-mail me at lee@lmlifestyleanddesign.com

And Oh!  I feel a lot better, since I’ve let go of some of that steam (I know, runaway train)! 

Be well, Letia  🙂 

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