Beauty & Essex


My sister’s soon to be sister-in-laws threw an incredible lingerie shower in New York last month and the venue and menu were of the chain.

The event was held in the wine room of Beauty & Essex, part pawn shop – part restaurant, and it was a full house. The menu was predetermined and featured what I imagine was the best of B&E’s regular menu. Course after course blew me away. Here’s how it went:

Course 1: Chocolate Croissants (I started out reserved and only had one.)

Course 2 – Bagels, Lox and fixin’s (Self control went out the window quickly. I had three. It goes downhill from there once you read what else hit the table)

Course 3 – Grilled Cheese with Smoked Bacon on top of Tomato Soup AND Avocado Toast

Course 4 – Baked Eggs & Grits AND Fried Chicken Biscuits with tabasco honey butter AND Double Smoked and Maple Cured Bacon

Course 5 – Doughnut holes with dipping sauces

Bonus – Rice Crispy treats with Crawford’s name on them in the goodie bags

I CLEANED some plates y’all. Zero manners used in he consumption of all foods beyond Course 1. I was an animal among dainty eaters. The cocktails were AMAZING also.
It may have been my first time at Beauty & Essex, but it will not be my last.


The Guggenheim

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I visited the Guggenheim for the first time a few weekends ago and if I’m honest, I wasn’t impressed. There were a few pieces that I completely gawked over, but only a few. Obviously I need a do over. Next time I’m planning a trip to the City, I’ll pay more attention to the exhibit schedule so I don’t hit another dud.

Anyway… enjoy the photos!

Art and Orchids

Over the weekend I stopped in at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina. Dan Stowe, “Uncle Dan”, is a not so distant relative of mine so I have grown up going to this botanical garden with my family and later this year it will be the venue for my sister’s rehearsal dinner.

Presently on display at the Garden are beautiful Egyptian tapestries featuring images of Orchids. Tapestries fascinate me. How someone can weave something back and forth from one side to another to create a whole image is just plain amazing. These are worth checking out and are on display until March 11th.

Also at the garden this weekend was a pop up shop selling magnificent orchids. I bought a couple, but wish I had bought more.


I bought a teeny tiny orange orchid plant that I had never seen before and a very colorful dark purple and white orchid. They had plenty of the kinds of orchids you see in shops and at the grocery store, but I was kind of stunned by how many different kinds of orchids there were. All were incredibly beautiful. Now all I have to do is keep them alive!

Changing Things Up

As you may have noticed, I changed the name of this blog.

When I started this blog, it was the next chapter in a shopping blog I kept on Blogspot called Armoire of a Reverie. Dumb name…I know. I had a descent following on that site. Elizabeth McKay actually followed me. I was finishing up college and had loads of time and energy to put into mixing and matching things that I was wearing. It didn’t hurt that I had loads and loads of clothes back then.

Fast forward five years: I have moved 3 times and have taken on some pretty difficult jobs. With each move, I left things behind and changed what I was wearing to better fit what I was doing. It became exhausting to keep up the parade of outfits and accessories. It was exhausting to pack and unpack all of that mess every time I moved. I’m tired just thinking about packing all of that mess. (I’m still selling stuff, if you’re interested)
Game over.

When I moved to this blog, I intended to focus on my gift for seeking out sales. I am signed up for just about every newsletter out there and I can almost feel it in my bones when a good sale is about to hit. I published notices about sales and posted show and tell pieces after I had shopped the sales myself. This was tough to keep up.

My shopping habits changed in a pretty noticeable way in the past year. Instead of mopping up at every great sale, I would pick up a few staple pieces. Plain stuff. Boring stuff. Bread and butter stuff. Stuff that doesn’t get readers excited. Basically… I got boring.

Sorry I’m not sorry!

I find myself gravitating towards more plain items now. I love items that can be worn with anything and I LOVE being able to grab something simple and not think too much about it. It is a pretty interesting change from what I was into only a few years ago. Layering necklaces and an abundance of color are just not my deal anymore.

So about the name…
What’s the deal?
What is my deal?
What’s the deal with this blog?

I don’t know.
Won’t you stick around to find out?

Christmas in New York

I’m playing catch up here so bare with me. Christmas is worth writing about.

This Christmas was the last Christmas we would have as a family before my sister gets married and it was a good one.

Earlier in December, Dad was a rockstar and paid to fly me, my brother, brother’s girlfriend, mom and himself to New York for my sister’s Bronxville engagement party.


We arrived Friday afternoon in time to have lunch at The Meatball Shop. We then set out for a little bit of shopping that turned into just a whole bunch of looking. I think brother bought a scarf, but that was it for the group. We went to the hotel and got ready for dinner at The Links Club. It had been snowing that afternoon so it was blinking cold when we walked to dinner. I was a big chicken and Ubered the 4 blocks back to our hotel after.

Saturday, Jordan (Bro’s girlfriend) and I got our nails done while Brother and Mom got a jump on shopping. Crawford joined them and then we all met up at Bergdorfs to shop for Christmas ornaments. I always buy a really nice ornament at Bergdorfs when I go to the city around Christmas time. This year I ended up blowing $200.00 on ornaments. That was one of only two purchases I made the whole trip so it’s not that bad. We went back to the hotel room late in the afternoon to rest and get ready for the engagement party. Crawford shuttled us to the Siwanoy Country Club for the party and a good time was had by all. We returned to the hotel all smiles ready for our pajamas.

On Sunday, Brother and Jordan went to here his old choral director’s choir at the Cathedral of Saint John the Devine and mom went to church at the Brick with Crawford. I was too ancy to sit through Church so I hit the streets and had my own religious experience at the Frick. I was blown away and even cried. My second purchase of the trip was a book and a ball cap from the museum store. I tried to order the book on Amazon and have it shipped home, but it wasn’t available so I bought a giant book and hauled it home.

Though we got on each others nerves a few times, we enjoyed ourselves immensely and I’m so glad we had that time together as a family and with Crawford’s new family.

What’s Up January – Part 1

January has already been a pretty action packed month and nothing horrible has happened (knocking on wood as I write this) so 2018 is off to a pretty good start.

I took a weekend trip to Raleigh over the first weekend of the month to go see a pretty awesome exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of EBONY Fashion Fair

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After seeing the exhibit with my mom and Aunt Laura, we went shopping! Well, kinda…
My favorite places to shop in Raleigh are Charlotte’s in Cameron Village, Monkee’s in North Hills, and Dress and If It’s Paper at the Oakridge (or whatever it is called these days) shopping center on Wade. My mom bought a dress for my sister’s rehearsal dinner at Charlotte’s and I bought a super warm hat at Monkee’s. We definitely weren’t big spenders this weekend, but we had loads of fun just looking.

My all time favorite place to shop in Raleigh is Hunt & Gather.
I have been decorating my new office building over the past few months and I have been treasure hunting to finish it off. I needed a lamp and a large piece for over a mantle in one of the rooms and found both at Hunt & Gather. The print I bought was so large that my mom had to ride with her feet across the back bench so we could get it home.

I got that huge print for only $125.00. That’s less than what it would cost to frame it! I LOVE it and am thrilled it worked so well in the space. The fireplace pictured is about as tall as I am (5’7″), so that tells you how large this print is.

In addition to tooling around down, we had a blast at home with Aunt Laura and Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe dazzled in the kitchen. This is when you should be jealous.

That my friends is paella and fresh waffles.

The last time I visited Joe and Laura in Raleigh was a whole year ago when I stayed with them the night before New Years eve on my way to Richmond, VA to pick up my sweet Pinckney. I won’t be letting that much time pass between visits ever again. They are the simply the best.


What a strange and wonderful thing it was to witness the total solar eclipse this year. I happen to live very close to the path of totality and witnessed the eclipse at 99.98% totality and it’s something that I will never forget.

The CFO of the company I work for has a home in Spartanburg, SC and he and his wife hosted a little get together at their house where we watched the eclipse. Our company owns a manufacturing plant and the guys let us borrow their welding masks so we could safely view the eclipse. We all took turns using the masks and the few eclipse glasses we had and were awestruck.


The sky dimmed into twilight.
The street lights came on.
The crickets chimed in.
It was truly bizarre and then it was over.

We tried to capture it on camera, but didn’t have the forethought to bring our real cameras so our phones kept adjusting to the light. I pulled the imaged above from Facebook from friends and folks who captured the eclipse so beautifully. I did manage to snap a few photos of our group all looking skyward to document the occasion.

Though it was over in just a few moments, I am so glad I took the time to go see it. It was humbling to know that so many other people were united in looking up at the sky that day.