It’s Not A Rave, It’s A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

A Designer’s Take on the Ultimate Desert Wedding: A Rave

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalDiscovering Beauty in Diversity and Design at My Daughter’s Palm Springs Wedding

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

Scarlett and Sam Wedding in Palm Springs

In the sprawling, serene deserts of Palm Springs, a location known for its picturesque landscapes and tranquil ambiance, my daughter Scarlett’s wedding unfolded as a vibrant celebration of love, culture, people and design. It’s Not A Rave, It’s A Desert Wedding where the theme embraced the unconventional. As a professional designer accustomed to the nuances of aesthetics and style, I found myself completely captivated by the beauty and originality of this unconventional wedding. This was a day that not only celebrated the union of two souls but also the fusion of diverse cultures, modern design, and electronic music, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Californian desert.

A Canvas of Natural Beauty

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

Parents of the Bride

The choice of Palm Springs as the venue was nothing short of inspired. Known for its serene desert landscapes and clear skies, it offered an idyllic setting for an outdoor wedding. The natural beauty of the area provided a perfect canvas, allowing the couple’s unique vision to come to life.

A Melting Pot of Cultures

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

photo by Molly O’Keefe @what_molly_sees

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalWhat struck me the most was the beautiful blend of cultural traditions. Scarlett, embracing her South Asian heritage, dazzled in a traditional Indian lengha, vibrant with Palm Springs colors. Her husband complemented her in a coordinated suit, adding a personal touch with his grandfather’s Tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl. This blend of cultural elements, from attire to ceremony, reflected a deep respect and appreciation for their diverse backgrounds.It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional


It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

Bride and Dad

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

Design and Aesthetics: Bold Simplicity in the Desert

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

Photo by Molly O’Keefe

As a designer whose style voice resonates with bold simplicity, I found Scarlett’s wedding to be a perfect embodiment of this aesthetic. The setting itself, amidst the sweeping vistas of the Palm Springs desert, became a focal point, with its natural beauty setting a serene yet striking backdrop. The outfits of the bride and the guests, were vibrant and culturally rich, stood out against this backdrop, becoming highlights of the visual experience.

The decor of the wedding was kept intentionally simple, allowing the natural setting and the people themselves to shine. The colour scheme on the tables was thoughtfully chosen to complement the desert environment, creating a harmonious blend that was both elegant and understated.

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

From table decor to crowns

To add a touch of vibrancy, banners were strategically placed to mark walkways and various areas. These banners were eye-catching, designed with vivid colours that stood out in the desert landscape, guiding guests through the celebration and adding an element of playful discovery to the event.It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

Interestingly, while I admired every detail, I cannot claim credit for any of the design choices. Perhaps, my personal aesthetic has subtly influenced Scarlett over the years, but this event was entirely a reflection of her and her husband’s vision and taste. This approach to design created an atmosphere that was both inviting and impactful. The simplicity of the decor did not compete with the natural beauty of the setting or the personal styles of the attendees, but rather enhanced them, making the wedding a true celebration of bold simplicity.It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional

Scarlett and Sam’s Wedding in Palm Springs

As a designer, I was particularly attuned to the aesthetics of the wedding. The décor was a riot of colours, echoing the joy and vibrancy of the occasion. It was a delightful contrast to the desert’s earthy tones, creating a lively and inviting atmosphere.

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalIt's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the UnconventionalThe eclectic mix, including an abundance of tattoos among guests, which I struggled with but what the hell its not my body, added a modern and personal touch that was both refreshing and visually stimulating.

The Unifying Power of Music: A Rave in the Desert

It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional Central to the festivities was the electrifying pulse of electronic music, setting a tone that was more akin to a desert rave than a traditional wedding reception. The groom, a DJ himself, and his circle of DJ friends took turns at the equipment, each adding their unique flair to the musical landscape. It was an exhilarating ‘music-off’, where they playfully competed in spinning the wheel, infusing the night with a dynamic and vibrant energy. It's Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding: Embracing the Unconventional This aspect of the celebration not only highlighted the universal appeal of electronic music but also its power to transform a conventional gathering into an extraordinary, shared experience of euphoria and unity. The dance floor was alive with movement, with guests of all ages letting loose in a celebration that blurred the lines between a wedding and a festival, embodying the spirit of a true rave.Not A Rave, It's A Desert WeddingNot A Rave, It's A Desert WeddingNot A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding

Not A Rave, It's A Desert WeddingInclusivity and Joy

The guest list was as diverse as the event itself, featuring family members from different generations and a wide circle of friends. This blend of ages and backgrounds added to the richness of the celebration, creating a tapestry of stories and relationships that underscored the inclusive nature of the event.

The Spirit of the Celebration: Ageless Revelry

As the night progressed into the early hours of the morning, a remarkable aspect of the celebration became vividly apparent: age was simply a number at this desert rave. The energy and joy of the party defied generational boundaries, creating an atmosphere where everyone, regardless of age, was immersed in the spirit of the celebration.

Even at 5 am, as moms, including myself, looked for their Ubers down the hill to head home, there was a palpable sense of exhilaration in the air. The surrounding darkness of the desert, with the vast sky above barely lit by the stars and the early hints of dawn, added an element of mystique to our departure. This was not just a wedding; it was a testament to the timeless and universal appeal of music, dance, and joy. The very essence of the event echoed the sentiment that when it comes to celebrating love and life, age truly is thrown out the window, leaving only the pure, unadulterated enjoyment of the moment.

Conclusion: Celebrating Individuality and Love

Scarlett’s wedding was more than just a beautiful day; it was a bold statement about the beauty of embracing individuality and breaking free from traditional norms. The fusion of different cultures, the eclectic design elements, and the inclusion of contemporary music created an unforgettable experience that was as unique as the couple themselves. As a parent and a designer, witnessing this celebration was not just a source of immense pride but also an inspiration. It was a vivid reminder that when it comes to celebrating love, stepping out of the norm can lead to the most extraordinary and meaningful experiences. The best photos are by Molly O’Keefe (@what_molly_sees)

Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding

Photo by Molly O’Keefe

Not A Rave, It's A Desert Wedding

10 Fabulous 2023 Holiday Gift Ideas, Silver Style

Let’s Embrace Quality, Minimalism and Experiences

Welcome to our “10 Fabulous 2023 Holiday Gift Ideas: Silver Style” guide, meticulously curated for those aspiring to live a life filled with intention and style. This guide is specially designed for those who appreciate the art of downsizing and embrace the freedom of minimalism. Our philosophy is simple: less clutter, more memorable experiences. We believe in choosing gifts that enhance life’s pleasures rather than add to its complexities. Join us as we explore a selection of thoughtfully chosen gifts that perfectly embody this minimalist, yet deeply fulfilling approach to life. Let’s embark on this journey of discovery, where each gift is not just an item, but a step towards a more joyful and intentional way of living

1. Bespoke Handbags from ‘Lover Fighter’

Lover fighter bespoke bag. Black with pink stripe

Louche Tote – Black pony with pink stripe

Flat Slouch - Pink Lamb Shearling

Flat Slouch – Pink Lamb Shearling

1/2 Moon Wallet - Manta Ray print

1/2 Moon Wallet – Manta-Ray print

When seeking a gift that’s both practical and a statement of style, consider the exceptional handbags from ‘Lover Fighter‘. These aren’t just mere accessories; they are unique, thoughtful creations that not only support a small business but also stand out as a central feature of any wardrobe. The craftsmanship of Lover Fighter handbags is unparalleled, with hardware that’s second to none and designs that draw admiring glances and inquiries from passersby. As someone who has personally collected several of these exquisite bags, I can attest to their allure and distinctive presence. They bring an elevated sense of style to any outfit, setting you apart from the crowd. In my experience, a ‘Lover Fighter‘ handbag is a treasured possession, far surpassing any identifiable branded bag that might blend you into the masses.

2. Tickets to Local Shows or Concerts

The true essence of a memorable gift lies in the experiences it brings, far outweighing the value of physical items. Gifting tickets to a local theatrical production or a concert is more than just a present; it’s an opportunity to create unforgettable memories. These events offer a chance for meaningful bonding, sharing the joy of live performances, and experiencing the magic of art and music together.

Reflecting on my own experiences, I fondly recall the time I took my daughters to a Justin Timberlake concert in Vancouver. It wasn’t just about the music or the performance; it was about the laughter, the singing along, the shared excitement, and the togetherness that made that evening so special. That concert became more than just an event; it turned into a cherished memory, a story we often reminisce about with smiles and fondness. I still remember the Led Zepplin concert my dad took me to almost 50 years ago. My parents thought i was too young to go with just my friend so my dad offered to take us. I was horrified at the time but I think back to that concert with such fondness for my father. In the end my friend couldn’t make it so my little brother came instead and he never stopped talking about our date with dad.

Giving the gift of an experience like this means offering someone a story they’ll tell for years to come. Whether it’s the thrill of a live concert, the emotional depth of a theatre performance, or the awe of a spectacular show, these experiences forge bonds and create moments that are treasured long after the final curtain call or encore.

3. Timeless Scarves

Scarves, in their elegant simplicity, transcend mere fashion accessory status; they are indeed foldable, portable works of art. Each scarf, with its unique design and fabric, tells a story, making it a versatile and clutter-free addition to any wardrobe. They are perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to outfits or for bringing a familiar comfort while traveling.

Hermès Dress Code scarf

Hermès Dress Code scarf

Opting for timeless pieces such as Hermes scarves transcends mere style; it’s an investment in art. These scarves, celebrated for their enduring value and charm, are more than just fashion accessories—they are potential heirlooms, poised to be cherished and passed down through generations, each imbued with its own unique history and sentiment. However, the world of scarves is vast and varied, with many stunning options available, both branded and unbranded. The key is to keep an eye out for that special scarf that captivates your attention, one that speaks to your personal style and the stories you wish to tell. Whether it’s a renowned Hermes piece or a hidden gem discovered in a quaint boutique, each scarf has the potential to become a cherished part of your wardrobe and a beautiful expression of your individuality.

Alexander McQueen Scarf

Iconic Alexander McQueen scarf with sculls in a great colour way.

On a personal note, my vacation souvenirs are often scarves, whether from a quaint vintage store or a boutique selling new designs. Every scarf in my collection is tied to a memory, a specific place, and a moment in time. Wearing them is like wrapping myself in those memories, a constant reminder of my travels and experiences. Each scarf becomes a narrative thread in the tapestry of my life, making them the best kind of souvenirs. They are not just objects I’ve acquired; they are stories I wear, each with its own origins and emotions, making them treasured and timeless pieces in my collection.

Hermes Scarf: Homage to Charles Garnier

Hermes Scarf from a vintage market in Rome: Homage to Charles Garnier

A poignant example of this is a vintage Hermes scarf I stumbled upon in a market in Rome. The scarf featured Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opera House. This building is one of my favourites, and I had the chance to admire it on that very trip.Its significance was immediate and profound; it was as if the scarf was calling out to me, a serendipitous find that I was destined to own. The acquisition of this scarf was not just a purchase; it was the encapsulation of a moment, a journey, and a personal affinity, all woven into a beautiful piece of art.

Charles Garnier, Architect of the Paris Opera House

Close-up of Charles Garnier


4. Digital Photo Frames

In today’s digital age, our phones have become the primary tool for capturing countless memories in the form of photos. However, these precious moments often remain hidden in the digital realm, forgotten or lost amidst the vast sea of our photo libraries. While printing them out or creating photo books is a lovely way to preserve these memories, there’s another innovative and dynamic option: digital photo frames.

Digital photo frames offer a modern solution to showcase and relive our cherished memories. They are not just frames; they are windows into our past adventures, special occasions, and everyday moments that bring us joy. These frames serve as a continuous slideshow of our lives, cycling through photographs that might otherwise remain unseen.

Imagine a frame somewhere near where you regularly sit, displaying a rolling collection of images: a family vacation, a candid laugh, a serene sunset, or a child’s first steps. Each picture tells a story, bringing a smile or a moment of nostalgia. It’s a way to keep our memories alive and visible in our daily lives.

Furthermore, digital photo frames can be an especially heartwarming gift for those who may not be as tech-savvy. For parents or grandparents, it’s a way to stay connected with the family’s latest adventures, even if they’re not on social media or adept at navigating digital photo albums. You can easily set up the frame to display a curated selection of images that update automatically, ensuring they always have something new and delightful to see. My daughter gave my mother a digital frame for her birthday and I find myself yearning for one too.

In essence, a digital photo frame is more than just a gadget; it’s a living, evolving album of life’s precious moments, perfectly blending nostalgia with the convenience of modern technology.

5. Apple AirTag

In the realm of practical and innovative gifts, the Apple AirTag stands out as a true game-changer. This compact, yet powerful device is perfect for anyone who values peace of mind in their daily lives and during their travels. Its primary function is to keep track of important items like keys, ensuring they are never lost. But its utility extends far beyond just locating misplaced items at home.

For travellers, the AirTag transforms into an indispensable tool. Putting it in your luggage makes it effortlessly simple to monitor your bags’ whereabouts, adding a layer of security and convenience to your journeys. Whether navigating through busy airports or waiting at baggage claims, knowing the precise location of your luggage relieves a significant amount of travel-related stress.

A personal experience further highlights the AirTag’s practicality. My daughter, during a dance class, unfortunately had her fanny pack stolen. However, thanks to an AirTag attached to her keys inside the bag, she was able to track its location in real-time. In a bold move, she followed the signal, confronted the thief, and successfully retrieved her belongings. While it’s not advisable to confront thieves directly, this incident showcases the effectiveness of the AirTag in a stressful situation.

The AirTag is more than just a tracker; it’s a small beacon of security in our often chaotic and unpredictable world. Its ability to seamlessly integrate into our lives, providing both comfort and practical assistance, makes it an ideal gift for anyone, especially for those who cherish their adventures and peace of mind while on the go.

6. Other Experiences: Travel

When considering gifts that fall under the category of experiences, travel holds a special place. It’s an opportunity to explore new places, create lasting memories, and bond in unique settings. A family vacation, for instance, is a fantastic holiday gift idea. Our family recently returned from a trip to Palm Springs. All 10 of us! We rented a large vacation property and had an absolute blast. It’s experiences like these, where you can gather everyone together in one place, that truly enrich the holiday spirit and leave lasting impressions.

For a more intimate setting, why not plan a special weekend getaway with a loved one, like a trip with mom? It’s a wonderful way to spend quality time together and experience something new, away from the daily routine. On a broader scale, consider booking a fun trip to an exciting destination like Baja Mexico where the arts, culture, food and music are next to none. This location offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural exploration. And don’t forget to pick up our guide to San Jose Del Cabo before you get there. Our guide is designed to enhance your journey, highlighting the best spots, the architecture, history and experiences in the area, ensuring your trip is both enriching and enjoyable.

Travel is about more than just visiting new places; it’s about the memories we create and the bonds we strengthen along the way. Whether it’s a large family gathering in a vacation home or a cozy weekend escape, these travel experiences are gifts that go beyond the ordinary, offering joy and connection that lasts far beyond the holiday season.

7. Other Experiences: A Lovely Dinner Out 

Another exceptional experience to consider as a gift is the simple yet profound joy of a lovely dinner out. Whether it’s with your partner, a parent, or one of your children, dining out creates a special atmosphere conducive to conversation and connection.

Yaletown restaurants

Having dinner with Graham at the Blue Water Cafe in Yaletown

I’ve personally found that sharing a meal in a new environment, away from the distractions of home, encourages more openness and dialogue, especially with my kids who seem to be more talkative in this setting.

Lunch With Paisley In London at the rooftop restaurant at John Lewis

Lunch With Paisley In London at the rooftop restaurant at John Lewis

A dinner out is not just about the food; it’s about the experience – the ambiance, the service, and the pleasure of sitting down together without the usual responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. It’s a break from the norm that allows everyone to relax and engage more deeply, making it a memorable and cherished experience. This thoughtful gesture of spending time together over a meal is a beautiful way to show appreciation and strengthen bonds with your loved ones.

8. Audible Membership as a Gift

Consider the gift of endless storytelling with a one-year membership to Audible. This gift is perfect for anyone who loves books but might not have the time or inclination to sit down and read in the traditional sense. Audible offers the flexibility to ‘read’ while doing other activities, like walking or exercising, making it an excellent choice for multitaskers or those in their silver years who prefer listening to reading.

As we age, our reading habits and preferences often change. Audible caters to this transition beautifully by bringing stories to life through narration. Listening to a book can be a more engaging and immersive experience, especially for those who find traditional reading less appealing than they once did. With an Audible membership, the recipient gets a new book each month at no additional cost, starting with two books initially. After the initial period, the service is available at a reasonable $14.95 per month.

This service is particularly great for delving into genres like non-fiction, which can sometimes be challenging to sit down and read through. For example, I’ve enjoyed ‘reading’ books like “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs on Audible – a book I’ve always wanted to finish since my university days in urban planning. Audible makes it easy and enjoyable to catch up on those long-intended reads or explore new genres without the commitment of sitting down with a physical book. It’s a thoughtful gift that keeps on giving, offering a world of knowledge and stories to anyone eager to learn and listen.

9.  Travel Like a Designer Curated City Guides

If you’re looking for a truly unique and insightful gift, why not consider our own bespoke Travel Like a Designer Curated City Guides? Crafted with the expertise and eye for detail of two architects – myself and my husband – these guides are far more than just travel companions; they are gateways to experiencing cities in a wholly original and exciting way. The beauty is you can explore these cities from the comfort of your own home with these image rich guides.

Our guides stand apart by taking you off the beaten path, leading you to extraordinary places often overlooked in conventional travel guides. They are rich with insights, offering not just directions but stories, historical context, architectural details, and even local gossip. Imagine walking through a city and not just seeing, but understanding the why and how of its landmarks and hidden gems.

Each guide is meticulously organized into zones, simplifying navigation and reducing travel stress, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or an armchair explorer, our guides serve as a portal to the world of art, design, and architecture. They are a celebration of urban landscapes, filled with vivid photographs, detailed maps, and curated routes for exploring.

Convenience is key with our guides. They are digitally available, ready to be downloaded onto your smartphone or computer, providing easy access whenever and wherever you need. For those who prefer a tactile experience, the guides are also printable, allowing for a hands-on approach to planning and exploring.

In essence, our Travel Like a Designer Curated City Guides are more than just travel aids; they are a labor of love, designed to enrich your understanding of urban spaces and transform the way you experience cities. They are the perfect gift for anyone who cherishes the blend of travel, learning, and aesthetic appreciation. Buy Guides HERE

10. ‘Silver Style On the Go. Master Your Style Voice: Travel Light and Look Great’ Course

If you’re seeking a transformative life boost, consider treating yourself to “Silver Style On the Go: Master Your Style Voice.” My new course, drawn from personal experiences, is designed for those eager to fully embrace their silver years, rather than passively experiencing them. It’s about beginning a fresh chapter, not merely concluding an old one. Mastering your Style Voice is key to living a life marked by intention, confidence, and contentment, rather than a constant pursuit of more.

This program is especially relevant for those at a pivotal stage in life, perhaps with grown-up children and newfound freedom, and looking to redefine their identity and style. “Silver Style On the Go” offers a route to self-discovery and renewal, encouraging you to live authentically and vibrantly in these remarkable years. Define. Discover. Design. Do

Our philosophy centres on the concept of the carry-on bag, representing the idea of carrying only what is essential and meaningful. This symbolizes more than just travel efficiency; it reflects a mindset of feeling confident and looking great in your style choices, embodying a life of authenticity and proactive decision-making.

Join us in “Silver Style On the Go” and let your Style Voice lead you towards an empowered, stylish renaissance, where learning, discovery, and savouring every moment become your new way of life. Oh and you get to learn how to pose for the camera to show off your new found fabulousness! More Info HERE


This holiday season, let’s focus on gifts that enhance experiences, not clutter. Whether it’s a unique handbag, a night at the theatre a stylish scarf, reliving memories through photos, or a practical gadget, each gift is thoughtfully chosen to enrich the lives of our loved ones. Happy Holidays, and here’s to a season filled with joy and memorable experiences!

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Wedding

Silver Fox Energy At A Black Tie Wedding: Finding Your Style Voice

The silver fox energy at a black tie wedding I attended blew me away, and here’s the story. The silver foxes owned their outfits with an unparalleled panache, and amidst them, I found my place, armed with a firm grasp of my Style Voice. Wearing an ensemble that echoed my personal aesthetic, I felt a surge of confidence and comfort. Picture yourself at a sumptuous black-tie wedding, a setting far removed from the familiar comforts of home. Surrounded by extravagance and the implicit expectation to dress in a certain manner, I anchored myself in a vital truth: style is an intimate affair, a mirror of our inner world rather than a mere response to social cues. Embracing what felt genuinely ‘me’ empowered me to confidently showcase my own style amidst the lavishness of the occasion.

Witnessing a Mosaic of Style Expressions

The venue was aflutter with guests, each interpreting the black tie code through their unique lens. Their poise and assurance radiated, underscoring that style isn’t tethered by geographical confines. Amidst the dazzling variety, a group that stood out was the elegant silver foxes, both male and female. But the women, defying age stereotypes, confidently donned bright colors, mini dresses, ball gowns, and so much more. Their flair was a testament that personal style transcends age.

Staying True Amidst Glamour

In this ocean of diverse outfits, my choice resonated distinctively. Genuine style is about embracing what feels right, without external pressures. Rooted in my personal comfort and conviction, my fashion narrative that evening was clear: a blend of simplicity with a bold undercurrent.

Appreciating the Diversity of Style Icons

As I stepped into the venue adorned with opulent decorations, I couldn’t help but notice the myriad of age groups and styles on display. The guests exuded confidence and sophistication, each interpreting the black tie dress code in their unique way. It was a true testament to the fact that style knows no boundaries. In a world where fashion trends come and go, one truth remains unwavering: style knows no age or geographical boundaries.older woman in a bright green maxi dress looking fabulous. Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie AffairSilver Fox Energy at A Black Tie AffairSilver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie AffairThe Bride and Groom


Transforming Simplicity to Elegance

I gravitated towards a modestly-priced COS dress, symbolizing my love for simplicity. Yet, it was the personal flourishes – a resplendent embroidered silk scarf and coordinated sandals – that amplified the elegance. This moment was a vivid reminder: true style isn’t about expenditure but personal ownership.

Silent Stories Spoken Through Attire

As hours danced by, my outfit narrated tales of my identity. It mirrored my penchant for the understated with a spark of panache. Through fabric and design, my attire effortlessly resonated my core beliefs and individuality.

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair

Extending Style Beyond Clothes

The wedding was a clarion call, reinforcing my belief that style pervades every life dimension. Just as I have a signature fashion voice, the same philosophy guides me at home and in my everyday choices, ensuring harmony, authenticity, and comfort in every corner of life.Your personal style will translate into everything you do. Once you develop and master your 'Style Voice' you can adjust it to say what you want others to hear.

Confidence in My Style Voice: Comfort as a Guiding Light

Amid the sea of sophisticated ensembles, I didn’t feel out of place with my style choices. What sets personal style apart is the ability to confidently wear what resonates with you, irrespective of external influences. The regional style expectations that could have easily swayed me were mere whispers in the wind. I was armed with a firm belief in my own taste and a deep understanding of what makes me feel comfortable and confident. My style voice echoed a sentiment of bold simplicity – a philosophy I embrace wholeheartedly, even in the midst of an upscale event like this.

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair


Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie AffairA Dress, A Scarf, and My Style Voice

For the event, I decided to adhere to my style voice’s mantra of ‘Bold Simplicity’. I chose a $180 COS dress that embodied simplicity in its design. But it was the way I personalized it that truly made the ensemble my own. A heavily embroidered silk scarf draped around my shoulders added an element of opulence, while matching sandals completed the look. This transformation taught me that style isn’t defined by price tags; it’s defined by how you wear what you wear, and the vibe you exude.

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair

Unveiling Your Story Without Words

As the night unfolded, I realized that my outfit, much like everyone else’s, was telling a story. My dress and flamboyant scarf were an introduction to who I am and what I stand for. They whispered about my personal style voice, speaking boldly about my preferences for simplicity with a touch of extravagance. And the best part? I didn’t have to utter a single word; my attire was a representation of me, my values, my heritage and my authentic self.

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair

Beyond the Price Tag: Embracing Self-Confidence

At an event where luxury fashion is often on full display, it’s natural to wonder if our own attire measures up. The question of cost can be particularly intimidating, making us question whether our outfit is “good enough.” As I looked around at the silver foxes, I was reminded that true style is not determined by the price tag. Confidence, comfort, and individuality are the real hallmarks of a well-put-together ensemble.

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair


Integrating Style into Every Facet of Life

Attending the wedding deepened my understanding that style is much more than clothing; it’s a comprehensive lifestyle philosophy. This philosophy extends beyond the boundaries of fashion, influencing every facet of our lives. Whether it’s in choosing attire, curating a living space, or making daily decisions, I’m guided by my style voice which is ‘Effortless Bold Simplicity’. This approach is about more than aesthetics; it’s rooted in feeling comfortable and confident, and staying true to our authentic selves. By weaving harmony and authenticity into every aspect of our existence, we ensure that our personal style voice is not just seen, but lived in every decision we make. Does your Style Voice say it all?

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair



As we navigate the intricate tapestry of our lives, this approach stands as a testament to the multifaceted nature of personal style. It signifies that style isn’t limited to clothing, but rather it’s a reflection of how we choose to live and express ourselves in every dimension. So, let’s embrace this lifestyle approach, infusing every choice with the same spirit of authenticity, confidence, and bold simplicity that defines our unique style voice.

Closing Thoughts: A Celebration of Individuality

Stepping away from the grandeur of the black tie wedding, I carried with me a renewed appreciation for the profound impact of personal style. It’s a force that transcends generations and blurs geographical boundaries, serving as a reminder that we’re all threads woven into the global tapestry of self-expression. The elegant silver foxes and the diverse assembly of guests served as living proof that style knows no age or geography – it’s a universal language that unites us all.

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair

The event wasn’t solely a celebration of love; it was an ode to the beauty of style and self-expression. The silver foxes, each donning their distinctive and elegant ensembles, underlined the notion that fashion is an exquisite canvas upon which our individual personalities come to life. Embracing our uniqueness while respecting the choices of others is a transformative journey toward self-assuredness.

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie Affair

Silver Fox Energy at A Black Tie AffairSilver Fox Energy at A Black Tie AffairIn the world of fashion, the price tag becomes secondary to the way you carry yourself. Whether your attire costs $180 or $1,800, what truly matters is the confidence and authenticity with which you wear it. As we navigate our personal journeys, let’s always keep in mind that style celebrates our individuality, weaving a narrative threaded with confidence, authenticity, and an unwavering commitment to staying true to ourselves. So, let your style voice resonate, let your choices reflect your essence, and let your journey be a testament to the power of embracing who you are.

As we journey together in celebrating and mastering our unique style voices, I’m excited to share that registration is now open for ‘Silver Style On The Go: Mastering Your Style Voice’. This program is designed to help you travel light and look great, ensuring your style speaks volumes wherever you go. Join us in this adventure of fashion and self-expression. More info HERE

Building A Home – A Long, Layered Approach.

Room designed by Lassel Fragtrup. The focus is on the entire space. The furniture melts into the room so that the fireplace and coffee table take centre stage.

“Ornament is Crime” Adolph Loos

Architects are not decorative. Our focus is on the spatial. That is, how can we make our spaces better. How can we make them appealing without any decoration at all. While part of an architect’s practice absolutely focuses on dressing interiors and adding finishing touches for clients (myself included!) there is always an eye fixed on the bigger picture. The form, the function, the relationship of built areas and voids, each space as it relates to and works with the other spaces– it’s always there in the back of my mind. The dip into some HGTV buzz words, the bones of the house are equally important (and influential on the space) as the finishing touches to make a space feel yours, feel authentic. And, any decoration that is added to a space has a reason to be there. It is meaningful.

A ‘decorated’ room by Sarah Richardson. The symmetrical end tables, lamps and pictures and the matchy-matchy accessories make the room feel decorated rather than evolved. The carpet is the most spectacular thing in the room and gives some hints about the owner’s personality. I’d like to see more personal items in the space to make it feel more authentic.
This room feel more authentic. There is no symmetry or matchy-matchy in the space. The neutral backdrop allows the owner’s of objects of art to speak on behalf of the owner.

Speaking of HGTV– I’ve been thinking a lot about the many, many, interior design shows that have been on in the last 10 or 20 years. For a lot of people, either design lovers, the design curious, and (before Netflix and Hulu… HGTV is vintage!) those stuck watching TV on the couch at 2pm when sick and nothing else in on… these design shows are the first taste of ‘interior design’. 

The shows typically all work the same. You get a tour of a home that the owners love, but it needs a ‘refresh’. The TV design team comes in and whirls around with tape measures, fabric samples, a carpenter with a pencil behind their ear, and an interior designer with fantastic hair. Then, the house is a construction zone and everyone wears a hardhat (can it even be done in time?!). When the paint is dry (our first glimpse into the “makeover”) we get a lot of short and quick shots of people bringing in furniture, a pillow gets fluffed and placed just so, maybe some new candlesticks are tastefully added to a mantel or bookcase (perfectly styled), and usually a photo of the couple/family is placed somewhere with a wink and the host exclaiming ‘time to show the homeowners!’. Then we have the REVEAL. The home owners see their new home and often it’s a lot of ‘oh wow!’.

From Youtube to exemplify the idea of the ‘reveal’

I really dislike the reveal. Also called the ‘install’ by Interior Designers.

Think of it this way: It’s difficult to smooth a layer of textiles and trendy furniture (we cannot forget the ultimate trendy Matisse print!, framed or unframed, you know the one) over a room and expect it to work. It’s like trying to ice a cake in delicious home-made buttercream when the cake itself is half-cooked or tastes like cardboard. It just won’t taste the way you want it to, nor will it last (will you think back and say, hey– that cake worked great last time, let’s do it again with a bigger budget?). 

The ‘install’ feels a little like this cake. Homes feel staged. Inauthentic. Devoid of personality. The owners are presented with an ‘instant’ room. Over time I have come to learn to treat interiors with as much consideration and thought for the occupants/owners as we do the structure. It is difficult to go down a checklist of what is popular now and build a room that both feels like you and will still look good and still feel authentic in 5 or 10 years. There is a focus to make this transformation instant and exciting (which makes for good TV…) rather than considered and layered. How many people really fit and love the current trends of shiplap, a sheepskin throw, muted neutrals, and an abstract painting that a consultant selected without input? You deserve a home beyond trendy and decorative.

A room we have seen over and over. Shaker cabinets with sheepskin and lemons. Styled to offend no one.

Your home should feel relevant. Truly, the only way to make your home more authentically you and different from everyone else’s is to have your home evolve from your experiences, history, culture etc… The most interesting and exciting homes are those that display these unique aspects and spark questions and interests and can be the basis for a great story.

As I said, architects are not decorative. Certainly, one thing may be chosen over another for aesthetics or great lines (we all have our weaknesses), but the idea of pure decoration is a classic architectural no-go. I love homes where people have a really good foundation (great space, good colour palette, wonderful furniture– think a great cake recipe) and over time layer it with all those finishing touches a la HGTV that come from family, travels, art that you picked because you loved it– not the closest Ikea or Target (a good icing).

Everything has a connection and a story. The lamp was found next to a garbage bin in New Delhi. The sculpture is by an Indian artist found in a gallery in Varanasi.

In my own home, things are a bit idiosyncratic. But it works. We have a mix of collected ceramics, art, family photos that blend with a modern home because we made space to highlight the things that are important to us. Our personal touches get pride of place and everything has a story and a connection to my family.

Slow collecting over years from our travels. Put collections on trays to frame them.

Consider the Eames Case Study house in the Pacific Palisades– a completely modern home, an absolute machine for living. And yet, it feels lived in and loved because it is filled with personal items and things from the Eames’ travels. A classic modern box dressed with absolute personality.

Outside of the Eames Case Study House
Inside the Eames Case Study House in Pacific Palisades
A great example of how this couple has added their personality to their home.

Another family friend has an equally striking home– lots of white and neutrals and softness that complement the taste of the owners, but the entire space is punctuated with objects they find beautiful.They set a strong foundation that showcase the things they love.

It bears repeating, architects are not decorative. We can’t help but see the relationship between everything in a space, it’s what we’re trained to do! To really build a space that works, it is a slow and involved process that should feel like you each step of the way. 

The obsession with instant fixes and trendy makeovers that build up to a ‘big reveal’ might make a space feel fresh, but does it really work? Do you really love it? Do you feel like you’re living in a magazine shoot that wasn’t built for you?

In summary, your home does not need to be perfect from the get-go. There is no downside to taking your time and layering yourself into a space with colours you like and things you love. It may not happen over a weekend, or make for great TV– but you will slowly build a space that reflects your taste, your experiences, your story. 

Studio Tour: Francis Bacon in Dublin

Francis Bacon in his studio, 1985

We had the opportunity to see Francis Bacon’s reconstructed painting studio in Dublin a couple francis-bacon-three-studies-of-george-dyerof years ago.

Francis Bacon was one of the leading figurative painters of the late twentieth century. He lived and worked in 7 Reece Mews, South Kensington, London, from 1961 until his death in 1992. The studio with its heaps of torn photographs, fragments, of illustration and artists’ catalogues provided many of his visual sources. It’s documented that his studio became his complete visual works. Apparently, Francis rarely painted from life.

studio quote


newspaperThe dust was deliberately mixed into his paint. The studio was cluttered, paint splattered with thick layers of debris and toxic pigments. Which apparently exacerbated his acute asthma.


easel 2 easel

bike painting

looking into studio

Francis Bacon’s entire London studio was transplanted and reassembled – every paintbrush and speck of dust, along with the walls and floorboards – to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, Ireland. The studio took three years to reconstruct in a Dublin art gallery with every detail of the work-space faithfully re-created.


The studio was donated to the Hugh Lane Gallery in and a team of 10 archaeologists and conservators spent three years dismantling the room and its contents and transporting them across the Irish Sea.

painting dust painting wall 2 francis-bacon-study-for-self-portrait-1964

Bacon was born in Ireland to English parents but he left Ireland when he was a teenager. He died in Spain in 1992.  According to Brian Clarke, Francis Bacon’s executor, “Bacon once said that he’d never come back to Dublin until he was dead,”

“And I think frankly if he were here today to see what happened, I think he’d be touched but I think he’d probably roar with laughter as well.”

francis bacon

Francis Bacon’s studio was the ultimate creative mess. I recommend a visit if you are in Dublin.


Meet Artist Ben Wilson, the Millennium Bridge Chewing Gum Man

people on bridge copy

After a trip to the Tate Modern in London, we headed over to meet a friend at Kings College. We walked over the elegant, sinuous Millennium Bridge. It’s has been a couple of years since our last visit and this time we noticed that everyone was looking down and pointing, not the sort of thing you expect to see in the middle of this busy thoroughfare. The once magnificent, pristine bridge has definitely aged.

viewersThe metal rungs of the bridge are now the repository for discarded chewing gum. It’s a bit shocking to see the how little regard people have for their city’s icons. I am always surprised that so many people do not consider discarded cigarette butts and chewing gum as destructive litter.

vististor taking a photoThe silver lining however is that Artist Ben Wilson, aka The Chewing Gum Man, apparently a regular sight on the bridge, takes these disgusting remnants of people’s chewing gum and turns them into mini works of art.

art 4

artist at workartist close upcustomerMany of the pieces are commissioned by tourists and locals commemorating their visit or someone in their lives. The intricate paintings can take hours to make.

japaneseBen likes to create art that means something to the people who ask for it. This was a tribute to victims of the Japanese Tsunami.

larger st paulsThis image shows people on the bridge looking at Ben’s artwork and St Paul’s Cathedral at the end of the Millennium Bridge axis.

art peice 2



It’s the endless possibility of patterns that seems to excite Ben’s creative mind. As Ben explains “sometimes I can look at the shape and I can see what I want to create…the gum gets stuck between the tread and takes on an echo or a form of the bridge.”( quote is from (image from Inspiring City)

art 3girl green head girl in coatThe Millennium Bridge has now become an experiential, free, outdoor art gallery. In his words, about painting onto discarded chewing gum, “it’s not criminal damage” he tells me “the chewing gum is already there I’m just transforming it into something beautiful that people would like to look at.” (Quote is from Inspiring City)).

bridge art with boots

This may be the ultimate expression of ‘taking lemons and making lemonade’. Ben Wilson has taken trash and turned it into an amazing interactive tourist attraction.  Now if he could only turn his hand to those cigarette butts. (The 3 image above are from Inspiring City)

Meet the King of Kitsch, Vladimir Tretchikoff

Yesterday, while rummaging around in a mid-century modern vintage store, Refind, I found a fabulous painting of a magnolia branch by an artist I had never heard of before, Vladimir Tretchikoff, the King of Kitsch.  It’s actually a print with an added pencil signature by the artist.  The painting is called ‘Pink Magnolias.’

magnolia croppedThose who know me know that I have a thing for kitschy Tiki, Hawaiian and Asian objects of art. I love vintage Hawaiian postcard, I throw tiki parties, love the cocktails and will wear a Hawaiian shirt without any hesitation.

50s kitschHowever, I have never delved into the world of kitsch paintings. Perhaps in my mind the prohibitive image of black velvet paintings is too strong.  This all changed when I went to an open house in Los Angeles a few months ago. I was so inspired and taken aback by the collection of vintage Hawaiian paintings, hanging in the master bedroom, that looked so elegant and stylish, and totally complimented the aesthetics of the room.

Silverlake vintage paintingsI realize it took a certain amount of panache to combine so-called real art with the flagrantly low culture pieces.  But this was done, not for Kitschy irony but for the simple beauty afforded by the combination of colours and imagery. Read my blog post here.

My husband said to me yesterday just before we bought the painting “You have to be pretty confident in your design style to hang this kind of stuff.” Well we decided we were, so we bought the signed print, replete with its original frame.

close up of the magnoliasignaturecloseup magnolia 1I am so pleased we did because it is amazing! I haven’t decided where to hang this gorgeous piece so, in the meantime, I decided to do a bit of research on Vladimir Tretchikoff.

It turns out I may be the only one in the world who hasn’t heard of him. Tretchikoff was a self-taught artist who painted realistic figures, portraits, still life and animals, with subjects often inspired by his early life in China, Singapore and Indonesia, and later life in South Africa. “His work was immensely popular with the general public, but is often seen by art critics as the epitome of kitsch (indeed, he was nicknamed the “King of Kitsch”). He worked in oil, watercolour, ink, charcoal and pencil but is best known for his reproduction prints, which sold worldwide in huge numbers. The reproductions were so popular that it was rumoured that Tretchikoff was the world’s richest artist after Picasso.” (Wikipedia)

girlsanother girl with magnoliasThe Magnolia and other tropical flowers, as well as, women from the Orient and Africa seem to be common themes in his paintings. “Arguably the prints had a populist appeal for being representational not abstract, yet they were also intriguingly exotic and enigmatic with their unfinished backgrounds, unconventional use of colour and Far Eastern or African subjects.” (Flashin’ on the 70s)

more flowers


The Tretchikoff painting above, called ‘Chinese Girl’ (popularly known as “The Green Lady”), is one of the best selling art prints of the twentieth century. Recently, the original sold for nearly $1.5 million in London. The model for the painting was Monika Sing-lee who was around twenty at the time and was spotted by Tretchikoff working in her uncle’s laundrette in Cape Town.


This short Youtube video explains the interest in the painting.

young folk

The Chinese Girl painting has appeared in numerous famous depictions of popular culture. For example the painting can be seen hanging in the background of an animated living room in the music video for the song Young Folks by Peter Bjorn & John.


It can be seen adorning the living room of Bob Rusk, the killer in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Frenzy in 1972.


The painting is seen in the apartment of Ruby, Shelley Winters’ character, in Alfie (1966).

david bowie

It is featured in his living room in the 2013 music video for The Stars (Are Out Tonight) by David Bowie.

As I always knew, exploration of junk stores leads to discovery and education. So next time you see a kitschy oil painting remember that these iconic pieces have their own stories and are touchstones of their period in time. Tretchikoff was interesting and his stuff is appealing – even with the layer of nostalgia and kitsch. Remember It’s OK and even pretty darn cool to combine disparate pieces – high and low art – Let’s not forget Mr. Warhol! It shows confidence and leadership – instead of waiting to see what might be cool – you go with your instincts and have confidence in your taste. 

Finally, don’t forget to drop in to some open houses because you can learn from touring real estate and seeing other peoples Mojo.

I decided to hang my Vladimir Tretchikoff, Pink Magnolias painting in my entry foyer next to my blue West German vase.

final hanging spot

Some of the images above were found on google images. If these photos are yours and you have concerns about their usage on this blog, please contact me and I will remove them. Thanks!

Architecture as Art and Sculpture

arch as suclpture 2

Very prominant along the GTA skyline are the “Marilyn Monroe’ Towers. On our last trip to Ontario we decided it was time to stop and have a look at these towers and their very unusual, non-rectilinear massing.

arch as scupt 1 distanceTheir undulating shape is the design of young Beijing-based architect, Ma Yansong, and his firm, MAD Architects. Ma entered an international design competition hosted by the tower’s developers Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen, and was awarded the project in 2006.

arch as sculpt 3

Within days of the announcement, the taller building had been nicknamed the “Marilyn Monroe” tower due to its curvaceous, hourglass figure likened to actress Marilyn Monroe. Burka Varacalli Architects, a Toronto firm, was hired as MAD’s local partner in April 2007.

arch as scultp 4The building represented constant challenges. In most towers, all but two of the floors are exactly the same, said engineer Yury Gelman. In this building, none of them were the same. The larger of the two towers twists 209 degrees from the base to the top. The towers are 176 metres and 158 metres tall respectively.

arch as scultpure 5It was worth the detour off the Toronto freeway to see these towers in person. They are absolutely magnificent and beautiful to look at. They are indeed works of Art.