The Street Where I Live

British by birth, New Yorker by nature.

Travel

Hotel Dreams- The Providence Hotel, Paris

Home and Design, Living For The Weekend, TravelAlexandra kingComment
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So I know that technically I am sitting in an office in Midtown Manhattan, but I'd like to urgently convey that in my head I'm at The Providence Hotel in Paris. Let me take you on a little tour.

The restaurant and bar looks like this.

Each of the rooms are individually decorated with vintage furniture, and all come stocked with a full cocktail bar. Also, that headboard.

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How dangerously luxurious is this room? Also since when did I actually like, no, LOVE, wallpaper?

A bed for dreaming and mustard velvet banquettes for reading/cocktail-ing.

Just you, a clawfoot tub, and some cute Parisian chimneys for company.

Simply heavenly, non? 

 

All photos courtesy of Hotel Providence

#TBT To A Vermont Road Trip

Living For The Weekend, Love and Marriage, TravelAlexandra king2 Comments

It's been a GLORIOUS day in New York City. 21 degrees, Spring like, birds chirping up a storm. As I opened my front door and felt the balmy air kiss my forehead this morning, promising Spring and Summer and warmth, I found myself reminiscing about our trip to Vermont last year. So, in honour of throw back Thursday, I thought I'd re-post the super nerdy video I made of our trip.

To those curious about our Vermont get-away, after first stopping at our wonderful friend's wedding at this beautiful place, we drove to the historic town of Woodstock. Our hotel was The Kedron Valley Inn, which I cannot recommend enough-comfy beds, an idyllic location and an on-site swimming pond (which you can see me making good use of in the video!). We also loved visiting Billings Farm for old-time wagon rides and some serious interiors inspo (black bottomed bathtubs- be still my heart). And we loved learning about maple syrup (and taste testing, natch) at Sugarbush Farm, which also has one of the best farm shops I've ever been to (we are now hopelessly addicted to these pickles, and have to bulk order them online). Other highlights include amazing interiors heaven Farmhouse Pottery, divine vintage shop Who Is Sylvia (I couldn't resist this) and rad downtown grocery store Woodstock Farmers Market. Guys, I fell so heavily in love with Vermont on this trip. It has, without doubt, the most beautiful countryside I've ever seen in the US, the people are amazing and the food is fresh, local and delicious without even needing to be advertised as so (just as an example, one night at The Kedron we were served raspberries for dessert that the waitress had picked from her garden that morning). In short, Vermont= the ideal mini break for a couple of strung-out New Yorkers looking to stretch out their limbs, sip on local IPA's and pet a seemingly never ending supply of adorable baby farm animals.

Wait, can I go back now?



Spring Dreaming

Travel, Home and Design, Gift Guides, Fashion & BeautyAlexandra king2 Comments
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1) Ulla Johnson Odessa Dress, because it's my fave from her collection this year, and, though pricey, is some made-to-last, future-heirloom, pass-down-to-your-future-daughter level shit 2) Mac Lipstick in 'A Sprinkle Of Magic' which makes your lips look like you just finished up a serious make out session 3) Marc Chagall's Lovers Under The Lilacs, cos, as mentioned, Spring is for lovers 4) Earth Tu Face Skin Stick because Spring beauty= a little moisture and the sun on your face 5) D.S. & Durga Poppy Rouge fragrance, because it is the sexiest, freshest most incredible smell 6) Elie slipper flats because they're part harem chic, part downtown minimal 7) A Room With A View by E.M Forster, because it's romantic, hilarious and has a great scene involving an epic kiss in a poppy field 8)  French Market Basket for carrying your book, wallet, water, a forgotten KIND bar, half a dozen dog-eared business cards of people you must call and that half smoked pack of cigs from karaoke the other night (these are just theoretical examples) 9) Gold Hoop Earrings, cos they're a classic, for a classic girl.







The Street Where You Live: Amanda Lee, Charlotte, Vermont

The Street Where You Live, TravelAlexandra kingComment
Amanda Lee TSWIL

Today in the latest installment of The Street Where You Live you're meeting Amanda Lee, New York make-up artist turned countryside-dwelling skincare entrepreneur. Though she describes herself as nomadic by nature, Amanda has found a little slice of heaven and her forever home in the beautiful state of Vermont. And what a place it is, as Isaac and I learned this past year (after my interview with Amanda I spent two hours fantasy crawling Burlington real estate, and I have no doubt that she will cause a similar reaction in you). Truly, I'm so psyched that TSWIL gets to play host to this badass, soulful babe. Now scroll down and take a walk with Amanda down the truly stunning street where she lives.

TSWIL Amanda Lee

On her adopted home of Charlotte, Vermont:

I live in Charlotte, VT (pronounced Shar LOT).  I am originally from Delray Beach, FL. My husband Ben, whom I met in NYC, is originally from Vermont. From time to time we would come to visit his family and I grew to really love the area.  It was always so refreshing to leave the city. After being together in the city for a couple years, we both felt a little burnt out, and decided it was time for a change. We knew we wanted a more relaxing environment. We both love the outdoors too. After a lot of thought, we settled on Vermont! It was the perfect combination. We would be near family, we would be in a relaxed environment where the quality of life would suit us well, and we would only be 5 hours from NYC to visit on weekends from time to time! The town of Charlotte is very quant. It has a tiny center with its primary store, The Old Brick Store. Although it is small, every single street is stunning.  The beach here on Lake Champlain and the view of the Adirondack Mountains is unbeatable (there's nothing like bringing a cooler and some floats to the lake for the day). Although I live and work in Charlotte, I spend a good amount of time in downtown Burlington, which is about 20 minutes from my house. Church Street is a beautiful pedestrian street filled with shops and little restaurants. I may never have moved here if it weren’t for spending time in Burlington, it is such an excellent small city, filled with artists and students. A lot of people compare it to Portland, ME or Asheville, NC. It is the kind of place where you can easily become a regular, whether it’s at my favorite restaurant, The Farmhouse Tap & Grill or my favorite brewery, Zero Gravity, you are sure to run into a familiar face.  I have quite a love affair with it.

TSWIL Amanda Lee and Ben Lee

On her beloved husband, Ben, who moonlights as house lumberjack (whatta man):

I live with my husband, Ben Lee.  Ben is truly the most loving and caring individual I have had the honor of knowing. We got married this year. He is warm, kind and selfless.  He is also a dream to live with, especially because I get coffee in bed EVERY morning! We met on a concert cruise called the “Rocks Off Concert Cruise" which is a boat that goes down the New York Harbor while bands play.  That night I had gone with friends to see an old punk rock band called The Bronx (although they are originally from California.)  Ben was also mutual friends with the people I went with and he met up with us.  As they say, The rest is history!  Ben is a really great roommate.  We have a good flow of having our specific little duties to keep the house in order.  I do a lot of the cleaning, but Ben makes sure to stack the wood (our house is primarily heated by wood stoves) take out the trash and keep our ice trays full! We are still riding the high of being newlyweds and are really enjoying these moments together.

TSWIL Amanda Lee

On finding her home:

We live in an old farmhouse on 16 acres of land. We named the house The Northern Bayou. We are currently renting but have started looking to buy in the near future in the same area.  When we decided to move from New York, we were constantly looking through Craigslist for just the right spot. We knew we wanted to be near Burlington, but not directly in the city. Ben found some good places to look at and came up one day to see them. Unfortunately, I had to work.  When he found our house, he called me and said he was sure it was the one. I trusted him, although there was a little reservation of course, and we signed the lease. I didn't even see the house until we moved in! It was better than I could have ever imagined! 

amanda lee TSWIL

On her bucolic block:

My street looks like a scene from a postcard.  Its a wide dirt road, lined with trees. It is a warm and loving street and is very welcoming, and it feels safe and cozy even on the coldest of nights. We are completely surrounded by nature. We can't even see our neighbors house from ours, just a big beautiful red barn across the street. In the summer, they host a theatre Summer camp in the barn, which I adore. At the end of our long, winding road there is a large horse farm and sheep. Indy and Graham, our two dachshunds, love those sheep! You are more likely to see horses walk down my street in the Summer time, than cars drive down it. Our neighbors are all over the age of 50, and they love having a young couple in the neighborhood! Regardless of their age though, they are very similar to us; they love the outdoors, are animal lovers, and are passionate about living in Vermont. It’s always a pleasure to run into a neighbor on a walk with the dogs. On the downside, though, because our house is a rather old farmhouse, the foundation is stone and it can be a bit drafty. That does allow for a great cool basement that we use as a wine/beer cellar but it makes it easier for various critters to come inside (eeep). After living in cities for 10 years, it took some time for me to get used to seeing a spider regularly. Now I realize it’s just a part of living in the country, but I would still say this is my least favorite part of the house! But my backyard more than makes up for it. Our home sits on 16 acres and we have a gorgeous apple orchard. In the fall, it looks like the trees are on fire and the apples are abundant. In the winter, we go snow shoeing right in our backyard.  In the Spring, the flowers begin to bloom and our garden of produce begins to thrive. In the Summer, the grass is a lush green and there is nothing like laying in the hammock under the trees. Every season there is something to look forward to.  You also can’t beat the stars out there. Because there is zero light pollution, on any clear night, you can see thousands and thousands of stars. It is really astounding. 

TSWIL Amanda Lee

On becoming entrepreneurs:

When we moved here, both Ben and I decided to start our own companies. Neither of us knew what would come of it and we were both working other jobs for income, of course, but we began the long and difficult process of seeing what would happen if we took a chance. Three years later, our two companies are my primary jobs. We co-own both and I could not love it any more!  Our first company is called Northern Bayou Cold Brew. It's a cold brewed coffee company. We sell bottles to various stores throughout the Burlington area and we also take part in the Burlington Summer Farmers Market and various other pop-up shops pouring our coffee on tap. The response has been incredible and in just a short time we have already moved into a facility that has allowed us to increase our production. We also are officially FDA Approved, which allows us to ship out of state! The other company is called Northern Bayou Apothecary. We make small-batch handmade salves, oils, and aromatic products. The apothecary shop is primarily online, which allows us to sell products all over the country. It is so much fun to start thinking about what is in store for our future. I have never been someone who plans too far ahead, but for now we are staying deeply committed to our businesses. We do have plans to get ourselves a camper to start exploring our country's National Parks, networking along the way. No matter what we are doing, however, this will always be home.

TSWIL Amanda Lee

On the inspiration behind her products, and her journey to found her company:

I attended the Art Institute of Boston and had a ton of interesting jobs over the years-  I've always been more of a gypsy than an office type. I would say the craziest career change I have had is when I sold all of my belongings and moved to Barcelona to become a nanny/English Teacher. Then about six years ago I began to work as a makeup artist at Sephora in NYC.  I loved doing it, but I found that all the chemicals and synthetic ingredients in the products were doing terrible things to my complexion.  That was when I decided to start making my own products that were natural and soothing to my sensitive skin. I started reading books about natural health and researching constantly. When we decided to move, I knew we would have more time and space to begin experimenting and producing these products. That is when Northern Bayou Apothecary was born.  As I was doing this, Ben began to startup the cold brew company. Now, both are up and running. And going strong!

Amanda Lee TSWIL

On adjusting to the seasonal pace of Vermont:

Moving to Vermont was a major change for me. I grew up on beaches in South Florida! There were lots of changes I had to make. The most traumatizing thing was having to retake a driving test to renew my license. Not only did I have to take a driving test, which by the way, seemed so much easier when I was 16, but I also had to learn how to drive in snow! Trust me, you did not want to be driving behind me that first winter… I’m not sure I ever exceeded 20 mph! My beauty philosophy shifted hugely. I went from making sure my nails were pristine every day, to making sure the garden was tended to in the Summer and wood always burning in the wood stove in the winter. Looking polished became less and less a priority and getting my hands dirty became everything!  Also, a huge misconception about Vermont is that people think there is nothing to do here.  That couldn't be further from the truth. You just have to go out and find your own adventure! This is a "four season" state, which means there are a ton of activities to do every single season. Whether its swimming, kayaking or ice skating, you can use the lake all year, and whether its on foot, on a sled, skis or a snowboard, you can always be active.  In a place like this you really have to embrace the outdoor lifestyle. As for apres-ski, Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state in the country. 

TSWIL Amanda Lee

On what home means to her:

Home to me is a lot of things.  It is being surrounded by love. It is a wool blanket. It is maple trees. It is a hot cup of coffee or an ice cold beer. It is my husband and my dogs. It is sitting around a warm fire and having a place to hang up my jacket. 

Amanda Lee TSWIL

Describe your street in five words.:

A breath of fresh air.

TSWIL Amanda Lee

 When you walk down your street, what do you feel in your heart?

I feel genuine gratitude. It constantly reminds me of how lucky I am to live in such a majestic place and how lucky I am to be doing something I love and be living my life with someone I love.  Moving here was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made and it truly feels like the place I belong. 

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On her perfect day off in her neighborhood:

I wake up around 9 AM and lay in bed for an hour to read the news and catch up on social networking. Ben always brings me coffee in bed. Then I get up and head downstairs to do some yoga and really get my day going. After yoga and a lonnnnnnnnggg warm shower, Ben and I take the dogs on a hike, either on our street or on one of the various hiking paths in the neighborhood. After this we head downtown for some lunch at The Farmhouse and do a little shopping on Church St. Now we head over to Healthy Living, our favorite grocery store. We are definitely going to cook up a storm tonight! We head home, I have a glass of Chardonnay and Ben has a beer as we begin cooking dinner.  Lately we have been cooking a lot of interesting Asian dishes!  After dinner, we get under ALL the wool blankets we own with the dogs, and lie on the couch and watch a movie before heading back upstairs to cuddle up in bed, safe and sound.

Amanda Lee TSWIL

Photos by Travis Perrotte and Amanda. Ok, are we all ready to pack it all in and move to the country? Thanks sweet A for taking us on a tour of your beautiful part of the world and sharing the story of your home. You can follow Amanda on Instagram here. Also make sure to stop by The Northern Bayou Apothecary  store for all your gifting needs this Christmas. Handmade by the beauty above.


Paris Je t'aime

Travel, Books & WordsAlexandra king1 Comment
Paris, TSWIL

Cher Paris,

I love you. I love your medieval squares and winding lanes. Your old stone steps to be jumped down, two at a time, because you're late for dinner, because everyone's late for dinner, but, merde! You might be the latest. I love your sidewalk cafes where a coffee only ever means an espresso, served piping hot, with a saucer. I love your markets filled with fat artichokes and furious red-aproned butchers and glistening tartes aux pommes. I love that my best friends were born in you and borne of you. I love that your waiters have never done anything but openly scorn my crappy French because this is a perfect and beautiful language, a noble language, to be spoken very well or not at all, non? Oh god do I ever I love your wine. I have literally loved your boys. I love your dress code of careful, expensive dishevelment. I love your pharmacies filled with stern-faced ladies in lab coats who care as much about early onset laughter lines as they do about a summer cold. I love your matriarchs (there's nothing like a French matriarch). I love that you are tough. I love that you are sensual. I love that Gene Kelly danced across you. That Flaubert walked, boots clacking on filthy cobblestones, all around you. That my parents, in the first flush of love, wandered through your streets under the apricot shade of a pink umbrella. That that's my favorite photo ever taken of my mother. I even love your infernal habit of being completely shut down on a Monday, because who cares about Mondays anyway. I love that you did not need me but I needed you. I truly love you, Paris, Pahree, la ville de la lumière.

In the old-time movie An American in Paris, the character Lise Bouvier says, "Maybe Paris has a way of making people forget." Her companion, Jerry Mulligan, replies, "Paris? No. Not this city. It's too real and too beautiful to ever let you forget anything."

Paris. To not forgetting. To being beautiful. To staying strong despite this unimaginable reality. I raise my glass, tip my hat and kiss you, oh so softly, twice- always starting left (where the heart is).

Mi amor, ma belle ville, je t'aime.

Alex

TSWIL Travels: Falling Water

TravelAlexandra king1 Comment
Falling Water, The Street Where I Live

This past weekend, my Dad and I drove five and a half hours from NYC to Pennsylvania to visit Falling Water, the famous house by genius American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This house and I have a long and loving history. When I was very little, I would curl up with one of my father's heavy bound architecture books (my Dad is a pretty cool dude who loves fashion and design- I'm lucky that this stuff was just lying around) and flick through the pictures. I always came back to Falling Water. Just looking at the photographs I could hear the waterfall and feel the close embrace of the rustling woodland setting. How could the house just sit on the rocks like that? Just how did Wright have the vision to place such a contemporary structure in nature so seamlessly? Did the people who live there get distracted by the sound of the water and need to go to the bathroom a lot? All of these questions were mine.

daddy falling water

Arriving at the house early on Saturday morning, we were in heaven with how beautiful and Autumnal the grounds looked. All horizons as far as the eye could see were rustling with ochre and russet and vibrant crimson. Leaves kept falling, magic and too-slow in the heavy air, ready to land gently on heads and hands. The air smelled damp and cool.

leaves falling water
leaves falling water
leaves falling water
leaves falling water

It had rained on and off that morning, so we were stoked to see that the Falling Water tours provide umbrellas for visitors (all in a chic, environment-complimenting green, obvs). This is the geekiest photo of me ever taken below but I love it. Look how excited I am.

Alexandra KIng-Lyles Falling Water
leaves failling water
leaves falling water

Oh, sigh, that Fall foliage. Suddenly we caught a glimpse of the side of the house. Which obviously called for an excitable photo with my majorly embarrassing selfie stick (a PR gave it to me, I didn't actually buy it, so it's okay. This is how I justify myself. Denial aint a river in Egypt etc and so forth). 

     

 

 

Behold, the happiest nerds ever!

And then, turning a corner, there she was.

Falling Water TSWIL

Nothing can really prepare you for how incredible Falling Water is in real life (I took a little video, here, if you'd like to see). It's so rare to see a structure that looks so magically organic, as if it was always there. It enhances the landscape, rather than encroaching on it- as if the birds and the butterflies woke up one morning and it was there, and everyone just got on with their day. Except that all the days after that were more beautiful. By the way, you can and you should learn more about the Kaufman family, who commissioned the house, as well as see some amazing photos of the interiors here (sadly no photos are allowed inside, but trust me, such inspo- incredible Beni Ourain rugs, custom mid century furniture and a casual Picasso or two, among other marvellous things).

My dad and I both agreed we've got three more visits to make as the seasons change (can you imagine the house snow-capped and the waterfall frozen? Wow). The closest city to Falling Water is Pittsburgh, though that's still an hour drive away-FW, hard to get nymphette that it is, is kindof in the middle of nowhere. In case you're wondering, we stayed at The Holiday Inn in the town of Donegal, PA, which, at a 30 minute drive away, was one of the closest places to stay near the house. The hotel was filled with a vast amount of bizarre taxidermy ("meet me by the mountain lion at 8am" said my dad, cheerfully). The receptionists have wonderfully huge hair, elevator music is playing on outdoor speakers as you enter the lobby and you are asked if you would like a cookie at check in. It's totally Twin Peaks but in a rather nice way. Also comfy beds and good clean bathtubs (I can't deal with a tub-less hotel room). Let's not talk about the crazy swingers next door who woke me up at 3:30am with their joyful shag whoops (Pennsylvania wife-swappers, THIS IS YOUR PLACE, you horny taxidermy enthusiasts- Zagat guides, take note). The only other additional drawback to staying in Donegal was that we had to frantically Yelp (not a verb, whatever) "wine" to find it (thankfully only a 15 minute drive away at this totally nice bar/restaurant where we also had dinner). 

Anyway, until next time, Falling Water, you beautiful exquisite thing, you. My seven-year-old self knew, even then, that you would be worth the wait.



TGIF- 04/09/15

TGIF, Food and Drink, Fashion & Beauty, Books & Words, Love and Marriage, New York City, TravelAlexandra kingComment
Alexandra King-Lyles
alexandra king-lyles TSWIL

TGIF and happy September! Isn't it such a thrill to feel the seasons changing? Though it remains hot as Hades in NYC right now, there's no doubt that the tendrils of Autumn are sneaking their way through the air on the breeze- there's a clarity in those whispers of wind that promises change. Though I often nurture dreams of packing it all in and heading to California (usually in the depths of a New York January) I know that were I to ever leave my beloved NYC, I'd miss that. We all need markers don't we? And when life is too busy to journal or photograph or commemorate properly, when all the hectic days combine fast and close and linear, it's so nice to have the signpost of a season. Bring on the scarves, jackets and blankets of fallen leaves, say I. I'm ready.

My weekly best of the net below.


Summer may be almost officially over. But it's still hot here. And I'll be sunbathing in the park to this song just one last time this weekend


Taylor Swift vs Socrates
 

This chick gives zero shits. Applause. 


I love Mindy


Emerson Fry goodness making the coming colder weather seem oh so appetising


And this Autumn, I'm totally forcing Isaac to drive us upstate so we can admire some of that beautiful fall foliage


How to really help the world's new refugees 


YUM! 
 

What a cool idea. An app that adjusts the brightness of your computer screen to the time of day. Totally trying it out

A chic ceiling clothes rack


Excited to watch this

A sweet and interesting perspective on travel