What the Doctor Ordered

A RHode Island Getaway

Now that I’m better and coming off my sick-leave, I had an opportunity to travel for an impromptu getaway to Rhode Island to visit family. It seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. It also seems like I’m not ready to give up the beach combing yet — just because it’s no longer summer.

It was right after the big marketing push for announcing new designs so I knew there would still be some work to do but I relished the opportunity to relax. We had Hurricane Matthew that is brewing in the tropics on our tail. We survived a harrowing drive all night in the rain where people were using their hazards because it was so difficult to see and trucks were spaying us with tire-mist and constantly coming in our lane.

Fortunately, my husband did all the driving and made reservations at a boutique hotel in Connecticut, just outside of New York City, right off the Merritt Parkway. This meant we only had 3 more hours to drive to RI and hopefully the morning would be better.

Don’t let the name or stark location fool you but the Hi-Ho is a pretty cool place, boutique indeed with its 70’s retro styling and Andy Warhol prints and Palomino pillows in the bedrooms. Old-fashioned phones and red high-top tables set the contemporary breakfast room decor. We had one of the best continental breakfasts with one of the staff making sure everything was fresh and filled and greeting all the guests warmly.

Hi-Ho Hotel on Art Is Everywhere Hi-Ho Hotel bedroom on Art Is Everywhere

hi-ho-bathroom-feature-wall_on Art Is Everywhere

Like this one wallpapered feature wall.

There was an interesting Barcelona wine bar/ restaurant to try that was attached to the hotel but we weren’t staying for dinner. We’ll have to go back! As it turns out, I believe this  is a chain restaurant and each location may make their own unique adaptations. At least when we want our Spanish-fare fix, we can go a little closer to us in Reston, VA, but may not be as good. The one at the Hi-Ho has cabanas and their own vegetable garden and their award-winning food looks exceptional. Another reason to go back. In fact, this may be our regular pit-stop on our way to RI. I’m glad we discovered it!

hi-ho-barcelona restaurant on Art Is Everywhere

Beach + Food + Family

We weren’t expecting the weather in RI to be in the 50’s! We mostly brought short-sleeved tops but layering with sweaters and jackets kept us warm while we attempted to catch fish in the surf. Although our luck wasn’t good, the striped bass were biting as others were more lucky catching them on the beach (and throwing them back).

We tried some new places for food, like 210 Oyster Bar & Grill as well as some old favorites, like Haversham Restaurant & Tavern right off Post Road (road to the beaches).


210-oyster-bar-inside on AIE

Where we ate inside overlooking Salt Pond

210-oyster-bar-aerial on Art Is Everywhere

210-oyster-bar-outside-front on Art Is Everywhere

Front “tiki” bar to try in the summer

clam-cakes_on Art Is Everywhere

Clam Cakes!


“The Sham” as locals affectionately call it

haversham-restaurant-interior_aie haversham-about_aie

We were happy to have clam cakes in the off-season and see Green Hill in a peaceful state as all the transplanted vacationers had mostly packed up for the summer and had gone back to their other New England homes. The residents, however, and those who have long-time connections to the area were enjoying the calm. Everyone was friendly and was waving hello as almost a code that suggested we all have something in common for being here.

Here are some of the photos from our trip. Our (left) side of the beach had all the sand this time but this will change as the currents shifts from year to year.

Our sandy left side of Green Hill beach_AIE

Our sandy left side of the beach


The other — rocky and seaweed right side. Our beach usually looks like this.

Notice this change as you turn the corner on AIE

You notice this change as you turn the corner. (Photo Credit – The Rev. Peter Spencer)

Algae covered rocks on AIE

Algae covered rocks (at low tide) harbor lots of wildlife

mussels-and-snails on Art Is Everywhere

Mussels and Snails

One of our favorite days was the very last, when we spent time walking in the Trustom Pond Wildlife Refuge. It’s right next door to these beach properties, which is wonderful that is protected from being developed and serves as a safe haven for many wildlife. In the summer, a big part of the beach is closed off in an attempt to protect the nesting grounds of the piping plover.

Trustom Pond on Art Is Everywhere

Right as we started walking on the first path by the field that leads you to the pond, we saw a bobcat — first time! Initially we thought it was a dog. It was sitting on the path looking at something (probably for dinner) in the clearing. Another couple coming our way walked around the corner and scared it but didn’t even realize it was a bobcat. They thought the strap on our binoculars was a leash and therein the bobcat was a dog. It simply turned around and walked into the woods. It was not very afraid but we picked up a large stick as we continued on our way.

One of our favorite spots walking back is the lily pad pod. This is where Peter caught a bullfrog and pretended to kiss it when our boys were younger. They were grossed out!

lily-pad-pond on Art Is Everywhere

Frogs are everywhere on AIE

Frogs are everywhere you look

Frogs are everywhere 2 on Art Is Everwhere

This time, we saw a beaver!

See the beaver in trustom pond on AIE

See the beaver?!

The pictures reflect for me the magic a much-needed break can bring. Getting back to Nature, sharing meals and the importance of spending quality time with family all leave lasting, life-sustaining memories.

Beautiful Skylit Boulders on Art Is Everwhere

Beautiful Skylit Boulders

Pear cherry tomatoes from our roof top garden to share on AIE

We shared our pear-shaped cherry tomatoes from our roof top garden.

Bird imprints left lasting impressions on window on AIE

Bird imprints left lasting impressions on the beach house window

Preventing Cancer with French Flair

My husband and I were excited to be invited as guests to attend the annual Prevent Cancer Gala, held at the National Building Museum. Peter’s Committee Chairman, Congressman Fred Upton and colleague Diana DeGette were the honorees for their tireless efforts to introduce and push legislation through Congress to help find, fund and speed the process for 21st Century Cures for today’s illnesses.

Prevent Cancer Gala-2 honorees_Art Is Everywhere

Prevent Gala honoree_Art Is Everywhere

Organization President and Founder and event Chair, Carolyn Aldigé, Congressman Fred Upton and wife Amey

The theme was La Vie En Rose, which was fitting in light of the Paris terrorist attacks that linger in our collective consciousness. In fact, as I write this post, the remaining terrorist has just been caught in his hometown in Brussels. I hope the French get the information they need and that will help protect other countries from terrorist activities.

Prevent Cancer Gala La Vie En Rose_Art Is EverywhereBizzBash rates the gala as one of Washington’s top events in 2014. It was definitely decorated to the nines, complete with a huge Eiffel Tower replica at the bar with bartenders in berets serving French 75 champagne cocktails. Other French flair attributes included: cabaret dancers, antiqued-mirrored rectangular tables, beautiful floral bouquets of spring flowers in tall vases and individually set en masse down the center of the table. The food was delicious and typically French: bouillabaisse with mussels (my favorite) in a saffron aioli, charred beef tenderloin in red wine jus and cauliflower puree, poirier (pear) au chocolat (chocolate sponge cake with Poire William ice cream) and a demitasse café or tea with macaroons, cappuncino eclairs and almond madeleines. Surprisingly, this was not all that filing.


Photo by Alfredo Flores. 22nd Annual Prevent Cancer Spring Gala?. National Building Museum. March 11, 2016_AIE

Photo by Alfredo Flores. 22nd Annual Prevent Cancer Spring Gala. National Building Museum. March 11, 2016

French 75 via Gin Foundry_Art Is Everywhere

French 75 via Gin Foundry

I wish I had taken pictures but unfortunately I got so caught up in having a good time that it was not on my radar, except for the first floor shot above. We dress up so infrequently in ballroom attire — long dress and tux — that it would have been nice to document. Dommage! Tant pis, pour les temps prochain!

Prevent Cancer Cabaret Dancers_ArtIsEverywhereYou can see many more pictures on the Prevent Cancer Organization’s Facebook page, but here are a few highlights and with some of the fun folks we met, like the Energy & Commerce Committee’s young staff.

Prevent Cancer Gala attendees_Art Is Everywhere ECC young staff strike a pose_Art Is EverywhereThe French Ambassador spoke. Andrea Roane, our local news anchor was the MC and the most clever method was used for their fundraising. Upon arriving, guests registered their cell phone and credit card with a bevy of young staffers inputting all this info on laptop computers. Guests were then sent a link on their phones to download the Prevent Cancer Org app. There was a floor auction in the bar area that could also be bid online and during the meal. This raised 1 million dollars! Another $40,000 in cash donations was raised during the evening from guests giving any increment using the app and their name would be displayed on the large teleprompters that were conveniently located on either side of the room. These really helped everyone see and hear the speakers as well as stay informed about the fundraising, which cleverly became a competition with those who gave not only pressing others to donate with their names flashing for all to see but anyone who contributed was handed a flashing necklace. You wouldn’t want to be caught without one. Smart!!

Prevent Cancer Gala table arrangements_Art Is Everywhere

Table arrangement. Photo by Josh Hartman

The most impressive thing, however, remains what this organization does with all the dollars it receives.

Prevent Cancer Gala-3_Art Is Everywhere Prevent Cancer Gala-4_Art Is EverywhereThis is a quick update. “Who” knew Roger Daltrey of The Who fame, would be involved in the 21st Century Cures regarding his effort with childhood cancers through Teen Cancer America, the organization he founded with Pete Townsand. This can be viewed via the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing just yesterday.

Roger Daltrey testifies on hill_Art Is Everywhere

A Father’s Day Celebration

We have an ongoing monthly brunch with my son and his wife. We decided to combine that with a Father’s Day Celebration last weekend.

It was a 4 star-sensory dining experience at China Chilcano, with everything from the visual decor to the food presentation, taste, smell and even touch with our seating sensation being sunken into the floor, a la modern Japanese style.

China Chilcano is an amalgamation of Peruvian, Chinese, Mexican and Japanese cuisine and eating styles. The food is excellent and the style is serendipitous, so if you’re in for a surprise, as we were, it is a pleasant one.

China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

2 China Chilcano decor on Art Is Everywhere

ceviche at China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

beautiful and delicious ceviche

Sunken table at China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

Sitting at the sunken table

Shaved Blackberry Ice at China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

Raspadilla de Chicha Morada. Shaved purple corn ice, lemongrass manjar
blanco, pineapple

Before taking the Metro home, we headed to the nearby Smithsonian American Art Museum and discovered this unusual building facade along the way.

Trompe l'oeil building facade in DC on Art Is Everywhere

Trompe l’oeil building facade in DC

Sculpture at the  Smithsonian American Art Museum on Art Is Everywhere

Sculpture & artwork at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Adams Memorial on Art Is Everwhere

Adams Memorial

About Adams Memorial on Art Is Everywhere

Angel Painting by Abbot Handerson Thayer on Art Is Everywhere

Angel Painting by Abbot Handerson Thayer

Thomas Moran Painting on Art Is Everywhere

Thomas Moran Painting

Later that evening an unexpected thunderstorm came through that created some unusual lighting, similar to the Thomas Moran painting, in its wake. Coincidentally, our American flag was highlighted. Be sure to fly yours on the 4th!

Strange light after a storm on Art Is EverywhereStrange lighting with dark sky on Art Is Everywhere

A Graduation Performance

I attended my goddaughter’s high school graduation recently. It was one of the best graduations I have witnessed with the focus being on the arts and the overall achievements of the senior class.

The weekend started and ended traveling with gorgeous weather over Memorial Day weekend. We headed to George School, a Quaker boarding school in Newtown, PA, just outside of New Jersey, where we were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn because there was nothing available closer in. Luckily for us, because this was a surprisingly pretty hotel.

I hadn’t stayed at this type of Hilton before but it is geared toward a high-end experience, with multiple interior vignettes, as well as outdoor seating areas (one around a fire pit) and a mini-golf / gaming lawn, where one can sit and enjoy children playing nearby. I was taken with the tall sheer curtains in the lobby, raising up at each corner of the vestibule to a tiered, vaulted ceiling with hanging lights as the centerpiece, surrounded with ever-changing fluorescent lights covering the color spectrum. It was modern, comfortable, welcoming and a pleasant stay.

Hilton Garden Inn, Trenton, NJ on Art Is Everywhere

Hilton Garden Inn, Trenton, NJ

Hilton Vestibule Lights surrounded by ever changing florescent lighting on Art Is Everywhere

Vestibule Lights surrounded by ever-changing fluorescent lighting

Hilton lobby sitting vignettes on Art Is Everywhere

Hilton lobby sitting vignettes

Hilton lobby sitting vignettes on Art Is Everywhere

Drum light with metallic table and comfortable seating in piano vignette

It was beautiful, almost-beach-weather for graduation day. The setting was at the school’s grotto, which was shaded with dappled light. Because the sides were naturally on an incline, everyone had a descent view. We had a several moments of silence, as is Quaker tradition to take in and reflect on being in the moment. The leaves were rustling among the trees and birds were singing.

The graduates filtered in and instead of calling them continuously, one-by-one, to received their diplomas, each row was punctuated with performances by the students — either a spoken reflection or a musical piece with signing and piano accompaniment. I found out later that the students had to audition to play these parts. The ceremony was a well-executed performance, with all the students having their shining moments. One even did backflips across the lawn to pick up his diploma. It was hard to top that but others added their own personal strut.

grotto graduation on Art Is Everywhere

George School graduation in grotto

This past performance will just be one of many. I’m so proud of my goddaughter and happy that she has now graduated and proceeding on to enter what will probably be a career of screen acting. I have no doubt that I’ll probably see her name in lights one day as a famous star.

graduation on Art is Everywhere

My goddaughter graduates

Antiques in Alexandria

The decorative arts are alive, especially at Antiques in Alexandria this weekend. I’m involved and that’s fresh off the heels of returning from work in New York. Casart coverings is wrapping Mary Douglas Drysdale’s featured booth for the event in one of her Signature Colors.

Antiques in Alexandria, Art Is Everywhere

Antiques in Alexandria

The show runs March 7th with a Kick Off Preview Party tonight through March 10th. Proceeds benefit three Alexandria, VA community groups: Twig (supporting the local Alexandria Inova Hospital / my volunteer group), The Lyceum (supporting Alexandria’s History Museum) and the Alexandria Association (dedicated to preservation of historic structures and promotion of the decorative arts).

A Happy Birthday at Notting Hill

Restaurants come and go in my neighborhood but recently a new restaurant, Notting Hill has open in the location of an Old Town staple, the old Le Gaulois restaurant. Peter and I decided to try it out for my birthday. Great choice!

Notting Hill-1_AIE, Art Is Everywhere

It was an unusually slow night but to our benefit, because we literally had a private dining experience. This is a panoramic shot from Peter’s iPhone camera. Behind us was a roaring fire adding to the inviting interior. They did a great job with color blocking – using different complementary paint colors on perpendicular and parallel walls, as well as the ceiling.

Notting hill-birthday girl_AIE, Art Is Everhwhere

Here’s a better view from the restaurant’s website.

Notting Hill_3_AIE, Art Is Everywhere

Everything on their dinner menu sounded excellent and worth trying. I will definitely go back to do so. However, here’s what we had:

Composed Beets

Firefly goat cheese mousse, rocket and orange marmalade vinaigrette, pistachio butter

Corn Crusted Rappahannock River Oysters

Pickled horseradish, celery root with an apple cider-ranch dressing

The Chef was so kind to give us complementary cups of his:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Crystallized ginger creme fraiche

which was probably the best butternut squash soup I’ve had. The trick, add honey!

butternut squash soup_AIE, Art is Everywhere

Maine Lobster Fondue

Sweet potato, apple wood smoked bacon creamy rainbow chard, verjus butter

Cast Iron Seared Rib Eye

Roasted salsify, kabocha squash and red wine sauce

I think I won out on both the beet appetizer and lobster main meal.  The flavors were so deliciously paired and different from your typical gourmet style — either too bland or too weird and wacky and overkill, like I remember seeing sea urchin on the menu once from a competing destination restaurant.

We both shared their:

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

with braised pineapple

— just the right amount for dessert because the meal was rich.

Next time, we’ll have to check out the upstairs bar, which used to be Bar Baudelaire and preserves the same French style.

Notting Hill-bar_AIE, Art Is Everywhere

We’re excited to go back, especially knowing they have:

Live Entertainment

Thursday thru Saturday 10.00pm – 1.00am
+ when spring comes, their patio, (my favorite part about Le Gaulois), will finally be open again and worth visiting under a new proprietorship.

Euro Chic is a Classic Cushion

We’re right in the middle of launching new Euro Chic designs for our Casart Décor pillows. I haven’t had a lot of time to do much else — except to say that Art is Everywhere and on pillows as well. These designs by artist Edward Doyle are inspired by illustrations, signage and insignia that have an Old World, vintage charm with appeal for your modern living.

Casart Décor pillows on Art Is Everywhere

Boutique Birthday Update

But what about the actual birthday, you may ask, as a follow up to the last post? Well, it was another surprise at one of our favorite restaurants, Vermilion, right down the street from us.

Vermillion_Art Is Everywhere

I had called in advance to let them know that Piers, our oldest son, would be joining us for drinks and to please seat us somewhere that would accommodate this. We arrived and Peter saw an empty 2-seater table in the window downstairs, which he wanted. The hostess asked, “Will a third party still be joining you?” Peter was confused of course and said, “huh, no let’s sit at that table.” She said that they had us upstairs. A little Italian, you messin’ with me attitude started to get in his craw and I just diffused it by saying, “I think they already have us situated upstairs and that other table is reserved.” I explained to the hostess on the way up that our son was still joining us but just for drinks.

Vermillion_Art Is Everywhere

Piers showed up just after our Vieux Carrés arrived and Peter was very surprised. They know how to fix a good drink. Best one I’ve tasted in a while. I like them better than Sazeracs and felt transported back to my New Orleans hometown. I think Piers showing up was the highlight. Of course we wanted him to stay for dinner just not to order their Tasting Menu. Peter completed his meal with a special birthday single-serving, apple pie tart with a candle and profiteroles (part of his Tasting Menu). They do not disappoint at Vermilion.

vieux-carre_via Art-of-drink on Art Is Everywhere

Classic Vieux Carré is described quite accurately + with recipe on Art of Drink

The establishment has seen a lot of change over the years but this restaurant has proved its staying power with a top notch chef and lucky-for-us, just listed in the paper today as being one of the Obamas’ favorite restaurants, which may impact us being able to dine there. I also like their décor. Stephanie Babin, one of the original owners and also from Louisiana, has done a good job giving it a funky New Orleans vibe but I’d call it “bordello hip” with the flocked damask wallpaper panels and lots of red. If you want to take a virtual tour, click here.

The Bar at Vermillion on Art Is Everywhere

The Bar at Vermilion reminds me of Mardi Gras!

Meanwhile, we are off to meet friends for drinks, at Vermilion! Lucky for us, we scooped in and got the banquet in the back of the bar.

Vermillion_Art Is Everywhere

Just one more thought, I’m thinking about my 25th wedding anniversary this year and thought having a party here would be perfect!

Special events via Vermillion, on Art Is Everywhere

Special events via Vermilion – Wow!

Boutique Birthday Getaway

It’s always fun to surprise someone and have it work out.

Last year this time, my husband and I were in Panama for a planned trip for his 50th birthday. I was just looking at those photos the other day on my new S-digital frame. (There are about 5 years of unedited photos to add and this way I can finally enjoy looking at them without the angst and time-I-don’t-have to edit them yet I can organize them in folders on the frame and play just what I want to see. Best Christmas present ever!) We were lucky to take this trip via Jetsetter’s fabulous package deal. Low and behold, Jetsetter strikes again!

I was reviewing yet another never-gonna-buy-from-Gilt email and thinking I really need to unsubscribe from this, when I saw the Jetsetter deal for the Lorien Hotel & Spa in Alexandria, VA. We’ve been wanting to stay at this hotel (and I’ve posted about it previously on Slipcovers for your Walls, casartblog) but the rates and busy schedules have prevented us from doing so, and it just happens to be right down the street from us. We frequent their restaurants and their gourmet deli all the time, however. I couldn’t resist; I purchased the deal, sent them a message explaining we were their neighbors and this was a surprise getaway for Peter for his birthday. We arrived and they obviously had not read the “special instructions” comment box. “Oh well, the stay will be luxurious enough,” I thought. The interior design is done by Vincent Wolf and it has a very calming-contemporary, zen-like, spa feel.

I love the open surface, barn-type-track, glass doors for the bathroom and shower and the mirror is exactly what I’ve been looking for with a low profile for our own bathroom. Fortunately, I can purchase some of the Kimpton Style décor items through their website, where I will definitely be shopping soon…

Art Is Everywhere_Lorien Hotel



I’ve been wishing for this desk chair to replace the one in my office for years….


We started out our evening not at the hotel because their bar wasn’t open at check in time. We have recently discovered the Odd Bar in Clarendon and headed there — great vieux carré drinks, food and music, where we aren’t necessarily the oldest ones in the establishment.

Odd-bar_via thrillist on AIE

Upon returning this is what we experienced. We decided to cap off our night in the Lorien’s courtyard with hot mint juleps around their cozy firepit. This just makes me want to get a permanent firepit but we can always go to our neighbors anytime, the front desk assured us.
Don’t you just love the clever use of mirrors to enlarge the space? This is an idea I’ve always wanted to do in my own garden but don’t have the space to even try.


When we got back to the room, there was a bottle of champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries waiting for us! I guess someone did read the memo…

We like their restaurant Brabo but haven’t eaten breakfast here, so we decided to give it a go. It was delicious but I am literally intrigued with their menu — at least the backside of it — metallic and cork. What a gorgeous combo of attractive opposites. I’d like to try to do this as a Casart wallcovering….gets me thinking.


Art Is Everywhere_Lorien Hotel

Finally, since we didn’t get to relax in their library, I thought I’d take a picture for its design aspect, all wrapped up in white. The only thing is, how do you remember where the book is that you want to read? 😉


What a great birthday getaway practically in our backyard.

Nu Murals

Looking for a little fun, music and instant transformation, and while at it, seeing the holiday lights while staying at a place near New York? Look at the NU Hotel Brooklyn’s Press Release of Brooklyn-inspired immersion murals painted by three local artists from their Nu Perspectives Project.

We are so proud of our location and are always looking for ways to celebrate Brooklyn. Having local art on our walls is something the hotel has embraced since the day we opened,” said Javier Egipciaco, NU Hotel Brooklyn’s general manager. “We’re just taking it a step further this time.”

 The NU Hotel is looking for three more artist, if they haven’t already been found. In the meantime, you can see a time-lapse of Adam Suerte’s mural in one of the guest rooms.

Steve Weinberg is another artist who’s illustrated style mural adorns one of he boutique hotel’s guest room, which is featured below in his time-lapse video.

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