Tuesday, February 25, 2014

10 Best Fireplaces by USA Today's Larry Bleiberg

In the midst of this ridiculous cold and snowy winter, I had to share the following USA Today article, "10 Best Places to Curl Up By a Hotel Fireplace" by Larry Bleiberg.  If for no other reason, I thought perhaps some cozy design photos may warm us up for the moment.  This is one of my favorite things about winter...a glass of wine or hot cup of tea with my family next to a warm fireplace.  A little winter-travel-get-away with the following photos...Enjoy!

10 best places to curl up by a hotel fireplace

Travelers caught in the chilly weather blanketing much of the country this winter can appreciate the comfort and beauty of a hotel fireplace. But hearths offer more than mere warmth, says best-selling erotic romance novelist L. Marie Adeline, a pseudonym for Lisa Gabriele, author of Secret Shared (Broadway Books). Fireplaces can provide ideal settings for romance, she says. "If you linger, things may happen, and memories will be made." She shares some favorite fireplaces with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.
La Fonda on the Plaza Santa Fe
A welcoming fire has long comforted travelers at this bustling grand hotel at the end of the Santa Fe Trail. The fireplace in the dining room keeps guests warm in the high desert, which can be chilly. It's decorated with a modernist terra-cotta sculpture by a contemporary of Georgia O'Keeffe. The hotel has recently been renovated, and rooms and public areas have been upgraded. 505-982-5511; lafondasantafe.com

My favorite of all these hotel photos...LOVE the southwest vibe for interiors.  Also happens to be the only one of the hotels on this list I have visited.

Grove Park Inn Asheville, N.C.
This historic, high-end hostelry offers a variety of cozy niches to warm up guests around its twin lobby fireplaces — each of which is 14 feet wide. The stone chimneys are so large that they were used to hide the inn's elevators. "They (create) unique clusters so you can have private conversations and still benefit from the lovely glow," Adeline says. "It still feels as though you're in your own world, even though you're sharing space in a grand lobby." 855-427-1409; groveparkinn.com

Bowery Hotel New York
Amid the bustle of New York, this clubby Lower East Side hotel reveals a surprisingly romantic lobby fireplace with comfy clubby chairs and overlapping carpets. "In a city as busy and neon and loud as New York, when you walk into the Bowery, you can exhale and relax," Adeline says. 212-505-9100; theboweryhotel.com

Love the tudor elements in this hotel, stone fireplace, dark wood panelling, antique brick red rugs, pop of kelly green (see my post from earlier this week!)

Love the bold grass green color (a more contemporary vibe) of the chairs against the more traditional antique (Persian?) rug
Hotel Burnham Chicago
The big city still has cozy hideaways, including this boutique hotel in a National Historic Landmark building. Inspired by architect Daniel Burnham, who helped design and build modern Chicago, it has wood paneling, marble stairs and ironwork that recall the city's formative years, when guests would ward off the chill in front of its stone fireplace. 312-782-1111; burnhamhotel.com

Not my favorite in terms of interior design, but room certainly looks cozy!

Love the historical staircase, architecture, etc.

Sorrento Hotel Seattle
It's hard to beat the appeal of a fireplace when you're visiting the Pacific Northwest on a damp, gray day. Adeline likes this hearth, with its niches and nooks for intimate gatherings. More than a century old, the hearth is surrounded by green glazed tiles and a mosaic of an Italian landscape. "It takes the chill out of your bones when you walk in, and imagine how lovely your skin would look in that light." 206-622-6400;hotelsorrento.com

Exposed brick provides a warm, cozy vibe...

Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe Truckee, Calif.
While any self-respecting ski lodge is expected to have a roaring lobby fireplace to greet guests, this towering stone hearth stands out. "It's incredible," Adeline says. She likes how the hotel surrounds the hearth with furniture, inviting visitors to sit and soak up the atmosphere. 530-562-3000; ritzcarlton.com

I would love to sit here with a cup of coffee and newspaper for about an hour enjoying this gorgeous view!

This lovely outdoor fireplace = heaven!
Old Faithful Inn Yellowstone, Wyo.
This grand National Park lodge, which celebrates its 110th birthday this year, has been called a cathedral in wood and is one of the largest log buildings in the world. Its main lobby is centered on a massive lava-stone fireplace that measures 16 feet square at the base and has four main hearths, one on each face. It's where generations of park visitors have warmed up after a day of exploring. "The architecture is just spectacular," Adeline says. 307-344-7311;yellowstonenationalparklodges.com

Hanover Inn Hanover, N.H.
In chilly New England, fireplaces aren't just for show. The one at this hotel, tucked into an alcove in the lobby, has small areas for seating and is surrounded with green wood paneling, inspired by the Dartmouth College colors. "This one is cozy," Adeline says. 603-643-4300; hanoverinn.com

River Inn of Harbor Town Memphis
Adeline, who sets some of her stories in the South, has visited hotels throughout the region. She says this lobby, which has a crystal chandelier, Oriental rugs and a wood-burning hearth, welcomes guests with a warm, classic design. "The South is romantic, and it's beautiful, quite lovely." 901-260-3333; riverinnmemphis.com

Camelback Inn Scottsdale, Ariz.
Arizona may be desert, but it's not hot all the time. "It can be surprisingly chilly in the winter, especially at night," Adeline says. That's what makes the adobe beehive fireplace here so welcoming. "It gives a cozy feeling. It's quite beautiful." 480-948-1700; marriott.com

Another article from Departures.com, "Spectacular Hotel Fireplaces" ...named several of those listed above, and named a few additional hotels...

Another related link...

The Equinox, Manchester Village, Vt.
This legendary meeting place for the fathers of the American Revolution has been serving up comfort by the fireplace’s warm glow since 1769. The original stone hearth from the tavern where Ethan Allen and the militia group Green Mountain Boys once regularly gathered now sits amid the browns, burgundies and old hardwood floors of the resort’s upscale restaurant. Oversized tables and cream leather banquettes make it the ideal spot for guests to connect over a leisurely meal. Rooms, from $200; 800-362-4747; equinoxresort.com.


The Little Nell, Aspen, Colo.
After a day on the slopes, guests — and their dogs — can enjoy a cocktail around the lobby’s double-sided-wood-burning hearth, crafted using local buff sandstone. Guests seeking a little more privacy are in luck: Each of the 92 Holly Hunt–designed guest rooms at The Little Nell — the only ski-in and -out hotel in the city — have an electric stone fireplace. Rooms, from $265; 888-843-6355; thelittlenell.com.

Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Nelson’s, named for legendary ocean preservationist Mike Nelson, from the midcentury show Sea Hunt, is the bar within Terranea. With a counter made from recycled wine bottles, it was recently recognized as one of the top ten ecofriendly bars in the United States. So it makes sense that it’s moved the fire outside, letting guests enjoy the California weather (and the SoCal seafood menu) next to their enormous stone fire pits overlooking the Pacific. Rooms, from $300; 310-265-2800;terranea.com.

Cozy and charming outdoor patio with amazing views of the Pacific!

Let Them Eat Cake?

A friend recently shared an interesting HP article, "Why Do Your Kid's Allergies Mean My Kid Can't Have a Birthday?" by Carina Hoskisson.  (link below)


I have always been surprised (if not outraged, frankly) when I have heard this sentiment before.  I am not sure which I find more shocking, the petty complaint or the lack of consideration.  Seriously, the level of insensitivity is ridiculous!  Please note, we have no food allergies in our family, so I have no personal interest or bias in defending the other side.  As a side note, after reading the FB comments, I realized this article raises several good discussion points from different angles.  For example...

"My thoughts are not related just to birthdays.  We are not allowed to bring anything not factory labeled for a snack. My main problem with our school's rules is exactly that: processed, individually packaged foods are typically not healthy and are both environmentally and financially irresponsible for me. I'm not saying we eat only fresh, non-processed, organic foods at home, but we try when we can, and I reserve the processed foods for when I'm in a pinch."

"I used to be a kid (and a teacher) with peanut and tree nut allergies and one of my concerns is overprotecting our kids from the challenges they will face in the real world. At some point we need to make these children able to speak up and take care of themselves. The world is not allergen free."

"There is a simple solutions to this....why do children's birthday celebrations have to always involve food? Why not bring every kid a small toy...or the little games you can buy at target for for a buck. Then no one is left out. You give everyone the toy, you sing Happy Birthday... Give your kid their cake when they get home."

"I don't think we should cushion all of our kids and change rules as a whole to suit those who are a bit different. I think, as parents, we should teach our children that it is okay to be different...to look different, to talk different, to eat different, to breathe different (in regards to my son, who is on continuous oxygen and attends public school), to walk different, to learn different. We are all different, and it is okay if others can participate in activities, tests, sports, etc., that we are not capable of attaining. Diversity is what makes our country amazing!"

While all of these are good points, and certainly interesting to debate, I wanted to focus on just one aspect...The author whining about her kid having to forgo birthday cake at school due to the food allergy issue shows plain and simple lack of compassion.  The reality is that food allergies (and their severities) seem to be on the rise, for whatever reason.  If you are fortunate enough to NOT worry about food allergies, the very least you can do is to show some respect/consideration for those that do.  What are we even talking about here, in terms of sacrifice?  It is not as if the existence of a food allergy in the classroom is infringing on any elements of best interest to the other children, such as the level of education, or care, or healthy meal opportunities.  Not to mention, is this really something we expect our teachers to administer, the mess and behavioral aftermath of 30 children eating cake?

Let me get this straight, the rules in place in many of our schools to keep children with food allergies safe are unfair because they infringe on your child's opportunity to eat cake?  Are you kidding me?  This Mom should be thankful her child is fortunate enough to NOT HAVE an allergy, not adding insult to injury for those who do.  Her sugar-deprived children can have their cake at home, or at their own birthday party!  Don't get me wrong.  I fully appreciate the fun of watching our children enjoy their birthday cake...but it can easily happen at an appropriate time and place.

Enough singing already. Let's eat cake!

Cake should be it's own food group.

Will I get caught if I just take one?

It was worth the wait!

This complaint is so ridiculous, it is almost something out of an Onion publication.    Furthermore, anyone with half an imagination can come up with an alternate way (a game, craft, song, etc.) to celebrate a kid's birthday (particularly at school) that does not include dessert.  If the parent DOES want to involve food, they can easily bring an alternate snack to share (make it fun, fruit kabobs or something).  Kids don't need an elaborate celebration to have fun.  They are often easier to please than we may think.

Birthday hats!

Birthday hide-n-seek!

Birthday stunts!

Birthday follow-the-leader!

OK, OK, enough with the corny birthday party photos, but you get the idea.  And, getting back to some of the other issues raised, I fully agree with the point several made of teaching our children to fend for themselves, ask the right questions, accept the fact that they may not be able to participate in a dessert celebration, or they have a condition/allergy that makes them different.  And, yes, we should celebrate these differences.  The world is certainly not "fair" or allergy free, and they do need to learn to protect themselves and appreciate safe/healthy alternatives.  But, those things can happen along side the compassion of others.

With all due respect to Hoskisson, please read the entire article (link provided above), to ensure these comments are not taken out of context.  But, I wanted to share a few excerpts from her article.

"If a child in the same homeroom as my son could go into anaphylactic shock and die due to allergies, I think we have a communal responsibility to keep him or her safe. I would never endanger the life of a child over a peanut butter cookie; that would be ridiculous."

"Let me get this straight: I'm supposed to feed my kids processed, preservative-laden food because your kid has a wheat allergy? No. I don't want to. I want my kid to have the made-from-scratch cupcakes, the ones made with fresh butter, sugar and yes, real flour with real gluten in it, and not a commercially prepared cupcake that has an ingredient list a mile long. How could that possibly be better? Not to mention that commercially prepared items are expensive."

"I agree that a teacher should let all parents know about any life-threatening allergies in a classroom. However, my kid shouldn't have to forgo his birthday cake because yours can't eat it."

"I would surely consider bringing an extra allergy-free item to the class for a child, but depriving all the other children for the sake of the one hardly seems fair (excluding life-threatening circumstances)."

"Let's stop the allergy insanity, and let the rest of them eat cake -- the lovely, homemade, buttery, gluten-stuffed cake."

Apparently, I am not alone in my reaction.  As a response to Hoskisson's piece, Kristin Shaw wrote the following article, "When Are Cupcakes more Important Than Compassion?"


What is your reaction to these articles? Please share your thoughts!

I wanted to share a comment I read under Hoskisson's article, after the fact, that sums up my feelings exactly....

"As a mother of a preschooler who does not have any allergies (so no vested interest here other than being a well-educated, compassionate human being and mother), I have to say I am absolutely appalled with this article. I actually pity you that you are so selfish and self-indulgent that making cupcakes is far more important than the safety or happiness of small children. It is sad for you that you have nothing more to focus on than making sugary treats. Allergies are far more pervasive today than ever before and it is the responsibility of all of us to keep children safe and to teach those that do not suffer from such inflictions that being compassionate for others is far more important than their own self-indulgence. Oh, and BTW, kids today only think they are missing out on something if you make them feel that way, if you teach them that eating cupcakes is more important than others feeling bad or even worse, dying. So sounds like you have some parenting growth and self-reflection to do yourself. It's sad that our kids could come across a parent like you in their years of school. I am hopeful that you seeing all of these posts (all of which are negative) will help you get your POV in check - for the safety, happiness and growth of all of our children." - reader Erin McGee

Monday, February 24, 2014

Kelly Green Fever (Again)

Ever since I hunted down the perfect grass-green color (it was a toss up b/w BM Forest Hills Green (bolder) and Lowe's Eddie Bauer Gardener Green (softer) for our master bedroom walls, I have loved the idea of using a bold green in my interiors.  There are so many inspiration images (see my prior post), from a bold green wall to an accent chair to just a splash of color in pillows...


But, now that we have moved, and I had to say goodbye to my bold green master bedroom, I would love to use this color again.  After spotting the following green chairs on Hunters Alley, (the new sister site to One Kings Lane), I have been searching for something similar for my daughter's bedroom...With the neutral backdrop of her taupe walls, gold nightstands, and pink and orange pillows, benches, bedding, etc., I think it would make a fun accent to the room!

Hunters Alley (sold)

Perhaps I am just having spring fever in the midst of this ridiculously cold and snowy winter season.  But, I just LOVE this bold green shade, reminiscent of the lush green grass of summer.

Here are a few more inspiration pics of bold green furnishings...

There is a bit much going on here, but love the mix of traditional and contemporary styles...and always love the pairing of a bold color against a graphic black and white pattern like this green sofa and chevron rug....

Tory Burch's living room...

Kelly Wearstler designed this amazing lounge/bar at the Viceroy Santa Monica

I tend to like a more kelly or emerald green shade (vs this lime-green), but loved the style of this one...
1st Dibs

1st Dibs

1st Dibs

Newly Reupholstered from Etsy

Newly Reupholstered from Etsy




How darling is this pint-sized furniture for little ones by Jennifer Delonge?

LOVE this!