Unveiling of the RH Tampa Gallery


A week or two ago I had the opportunity to attend the unveiling party of the new RH Tampa Gallery. The party was amazing, with hand passed appetizers, a wine bar, Peach Bellinis, and a vintage candy bar. They brought in a great Indi band, Larkin Poe to perform and had a DJ spinning tunes on another floor. Ok, I was impressed with the party, but honestly, I was more impressed with the new 60,000 square foot gallery. OMG…. swoon worthy, inspiration and gorgeous layouts forever.

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As you approach the space you’ll notice the big iron gates framing a courtyard in front of the main entrance. You’re greeted by a very open space with a furniture staged as welcoming living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. Throughout the first floor they feature what they refer to as Restoration Hardware classic, or their standard transitional collection. Just opposite the entry is a grand staircase that takes you up through the three other floors, where you will see RH Modern, RH Baby & Child, RH Teen and then RH Outdoors. It’s amazing


The next day I was invited to attend the ribbon cutting and a press round table with their CEO. I had to laugh when their CEO, Gary Friedman, was relating the story of having contractors rip down a ceiling to move a light fixture a mere six inches. Most the crowd seemed to think it was overkill, but when it comes to impeccable design perfection is everything. If a fixture needs to be moved, it needs to be moved. Everything was in place and stunning to look at.

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I didn’t realize that they have 92 different leathers, and over 100 different fabrics. All of it was on display in their new Design Ateliers. Their design service is free, and you can bring your own designer, or work with one of theirs. It struck me though, that their colors all seem to coordinate with each other, as if their overall available scheme is limited to a few neutrals and not a lot of pops of color. RH_leathers

None of their stock is cash and carry. Each piece, from curtains to bedding to small accessories are ordered and shipped to you from the store. For me, if I buy towels I want to walk out of the store with them. Furniture, I understand has to be shipped. It’s a bit bulky unless it’s flat packed like Ikea, but then if that’s what you are looking for you won’t be at RH for it.

The grand staircase is breathtaking. As you stand on the first floor and look up, you’ll notice 23 identical chandeliers hung from the fourth floor down. It’s a sight to see. I tried to capture it, it just doesn’t do it justice though. It’s unfortunately a little blurry. It may have been the three glasses of wine I had before I realized the magnificent touch the chandeliers offer.


It was quite the experience.  RH Tampa is a great new gem for the city and surrounding areas. It’s nice to know with the housing market rebounding there will be a lot opportunity for RH.  I am sure I will be back there for a dose or two of inspiration…..






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Gluten Free Banana Muffins


Recently we decided to go gluten-free after discovering Kevin has gluten sensitivities. It’s not been an easy transition especially since I love to bake. At first, I thought my baking days were over, then I found an all-purpose gluten free flour.  It was the best discovery ever! Well, that might be overstating it a bit. Still, it opened up baking to me again.

Of course I had to test it out. We love banana muffins, and I wondered if I could turn my usual recipe into a yummy gluten free banana muffin. So, I tested it out. Sure enough the gluten free flour worked wonderfully.

Here’s the recipe: Gluten Free Banana Muffins

2-3 ripe bananas

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup of sugar (for less sweetness use ½ cups )

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 ½ cups all-purpose gluten free flour

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

Mash the bananas, mix with baking soda and salt, stir in the sugar, and then stir in the egg and flour. Mix well and divide evenly among a greased muffin pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool and enjoy.

I made these for breakfast the other day and they came out well. They were moist and had a great consistency. They certainly got rave reviews from Kevin too.  He was happy I could make him baked goods too.

Now, next up my favorite cheddar crackers.

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Sewing Class

Finished fabric bin project

The one thing I have wanted to do was take a sewing class and this past weekend I had the chance to take a class at Jo-Ann’s.  The class focused on making a fabric bin. At first I thought it may have been a little above my skill set, but then I realized it was just straight lines.

Fabric Bin project
Fabric Bin project

I started out with 5/8th of a yard of fabric for the main fabric and the liner as well as the interfacing. I needed to get the eye-let kit and rope trim for the handles, although in the end I opted to leave the handles off the bin.  Jo-Ann’s provided me with the single piece pattern. I cut the pattern out three times and then began the process of sewing it all together.  The sewing class was supposed to be a mere three hours long, but almost five hours later, I was done.

Finished fabric bin project
Finished fabric bin project

As it turned out, I was the only one to sign up for the home decor project sewing class and was able to get individualized attention.  I wasn’t he only one there to sew though. There were a couple of 10 year olds there with their own sewing machines learning to make patch work pillows.  I was struck by their level of interest, concentration and creativity.  In a day where most millennials aren’t learning to sew, it was refreshing to see girls much younger learning to.

One of the young girls was a cancer survivor and she hadn’t been to a sewing class in a few years. I felt fortunate to meet the young lady. She’s very talented, creative and inquisitive.  After she complimented me on the Paris print I was working with, I gave her the scrap material I had. I am sure she will do something amazing with it.  I spent most of the day chatting with her mother as I diligently sewed my project.

The cool thing is the pattern for the fabric bin was so easy; I can replicate it at home and make a bunch of bins for other organizational needs.  It will make a gift too.

As for taking a class at Jo-Ann’s, I would happily take another. It was a fun day working on a project where my only focus was what I was working on.  The instructor was patient and helpful. I think it helped that she really enjoyed being there with all of us.

If you want to learn to sew, I suggest checking out their sewing classes. They have a sewing 101 class that teaches you the basics. You will learn about the various hems, stitches and the like.  I may actually go back and take that class, even though it’s a bit remedial for me.

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Powell and Mahoney Cocktail Mixer Review


Sponsored post:  Powell and Mahoney gifted me a bottle of the Cosmo mixer  and their Ginger Mixer for the purposes of this review. All opinions are mine.



It could be that the classic Gin & Tonic was my grandfather’s drink or maybe it’s the English in me, but I am a gin girl. I prefer gin over whiskey, and vodka. While I enjoy a good G&T in the summer months, my go to drink lately has been the Madras. It’s a classic drink that reminds me of Bermuda, and summer days spent in Ocean Point ME.

So I was thrilled when Powell & Mahoney asked me to review their Cosmo and Ginger mixers. It’s a great alternative to cranberry juice and  is used in the madras and the ever famous Cosmo, a la Carrie Bradshaw.

Priced at around $6.99, it’s a bit more expensive than cranberry juice. The good thing is unlike cranberry juice that could easily be gone when you want to make a drink, the mixer is more likely to be available. I am not sure anyone in your house would opt for the mixer over cranberry juice, just sayin.

Madras Cocktail
Madras Cocktail made with Powell & Mahoney Cosmo mixer


Using 2oz of the mixer, 1 1/2 oz of gin ( you can use vodka if you prefer) and 1 oz of fresh orange juice, I mixed it all in a shaker over ice and then served it up in a stemless wine glass. You can use a highball or Tom Collins glass.  You could serve it in a Red Solo cup and it would still be divine. Refreshing, not too sweet, and perfect for sipping on the porch.

I had a little trouble with the Ginger mixer. There are three drinks recommended for the mixer. The Dark & Stormy, Moscow Mule and the Ginger Margarita. I opted to try the Dark & Stormy. It’s a drink made with dark rum, another favorite of mine. It’s very gingery. I like ginger, but this was a little strong for me. That’s saying a lot for me since my favorite snack is crystallized ginger from Whole Foods. Still, I would probably drink it again.

The dark and stormy is made with 2oz of the Ginger mixer by Powell & MaHoney, 1 1/2 oz dark rum and a splash of soda water. It’s spicy to say the least. If you like spice this could be a great drink for you.


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Dark & Stormy









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Easy tips to picking paint color

One of the hardest selections to make when decorating a home is paint color. There are a myriad of hues from which to pick and narrowing it down to a set of colors can be intimidating. Thankfully, there are many helpful tips to make the process less stressful and more enjoyable.


benjamin moore paint fan deck
benjamin moore paint fan deck

The first is to begin with what your love. If you have, a scarf or a favorite piece of artwork, pull a color from it and build the color scheme around it. Let’s say you have a beautiful Monet print, full of gorgeous pastels. Pull out the shade that speaks to you most and build the room around that hue.  You can use darker or lighter shade of the color for the walls, and bring in other colors from the painting too.

Another great tip is to consider a room’s intended purpose.  Dark paint colors won’t work well in bedrooms, and can make kitchens feel cluttered.  A small powder room will benefit from a strong hue and make a grand statement.  Keep the lighter colors to the kitchen and bedrooms.

Discover a fabulous color palette right outside your window. Nature offers a wide and vibrant choice of colors, from neutral browns to soft greens and muted yellows to bright blues.  Creating your color scheme from shades found outside lets you bring the outdoors in and blurs the lines a bit.

Draw inspiration from your favorite places to decide your color scheme.  If you enjoy time spent at the lake or the beach, choose a palette of creamy whites, soft blues and sandy beiges.  Use browns, greens and taupe if your favorite place is the mountains.

A trick I have used and love is to find a color in a treasured item and color match it at the paint shop.  You can draw inspiration from a piece of your grandmother’s custom jewelry or maybe an old jacket of your grandfathers. A semi-precious gemstone could inspire your color choice.  Only the imagination limits your options.

Frequently, when one can’t decide on a color white becomes the popular choice. Funny thing is that white comes in hundreds of tones. It can look a little grey, a little blue, or super bright. While trying to find the right white can be a challenge, it lets you play with colors. Accessories can be any myriad of tones and shades. Keeping your walls white also lets you change out your colored accents seasonally, giving you the feeling of an ever changing décor.

Another suggestion would be to look at the color palettes Pantone issues. Each palette is a series of coordinated colors.  Select the palette that you are drawn to the most and let it inspire the palette for the entire home.  Paint each room a shade from that palette and create the feeling of flow throughout the home.

If you find you do not like the colors you choose, you can always paint again. Paint is one of the least expensive tools in the decorating arsenal.

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