The last few months have been filled with eye-popping amounts of activity. The biggest outcome of which is Coléoptère, a fine jewelry concern I co-founded and launched in November of last year.  We’ve had some wonderful support from publications like Bazaar, W, Marie Clair, Elle, Town & Country and Vogue, not mention some great support from local folks. Take a quick look at what’s happening over there, as I begin to ramp up again over here.

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good advice


moravola — medieval modernism

While I admit to an unhealthy fascination with hotels in general ( a la distance), and hotel bars in particular (in close proximity), there are very occasionally a few hotels that break through my hazy, pro-hotel glow and beg me to book a flight and a room. Moravola is one of those hotels.

Architect Christopher Chong and his wife, designer Seonaid Mackenzie bought the 9th century Torre di Moravola in 1999 — after it had been abandoned for 50 years.


Before the restoration


The torre is obviously lovingly restored in a sort of  “medieval modernism”. The website for the hotel has, unexpectedly, a charming  overview of the design process, and shows the work that was required to reconstruct ceilings, add stairs, and smooth walls; an intimate, behind-the-scenes touch that seems to presage an equally intimate stay. It’s only open seasonally, but honestly, did you really want to go to Umbria in February?

Some images to wet your whistle:

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mallarme’s cat


Mallarme’s cat by Edouard Manet

On a cold, rainy February night in New York, I remember a story Andre Malraux used to tell — and which, at some remove, was told to me — about Mallarme’s cat, whose name, almost needless to say, was Blanche.

On a cold, rainy February night in Paris, a thin and bedraggled alley cat, wandering the streets, looks in the window of Mallarme’s house and sees a white, fat and fluffy cat dozing in an overstuffed chair by a blazing fire. He taps on the window:

“Comrade cat, how can you live in luxury and sleep so peacefully when your brothers are here in the streets starving?”

 “Have no fear, comrade,” Blanche replies. “I’m only pretending to be Mallarme’s cat.”

— From “Anecdotal Evidence,” by Eliot Weinberger, in the Fall 2003 issue of Conjunctions. [reprinted in Harper’s Magazine, June 2004]

“the man of taste always knows how to reduce need to a minimum.” — Balzac


claudia moreira salles

I recently became aware of the work of Brazilian designer Claudia Moreira Salles. Her work, currently on display at Espasso in New York City, is beautifully balanced, despite the heft of the materials. These are formally rigorous pieces that use native Brazilian hardwoods. Beautiful!

TangentechairsB1 tableLuasidetable

the good life — no. 8

I know. There’s a been a dearth of men offering their ruminations on living a good life. Well, that’s about to change starting right now. And I’ve landed a whopper.

Let me start by issuing this warning: Jon Lo has got a wicked, wicked eye. If you’re the kind of person that likes to follow people who produce consistently compelling images on Instagram, consider adding Jon. Because while every other social media “guru” is busy photographing their nail color, or their shoes, or showing off impossibly perfect corners of their homes, or their dog (guilty as charged…ahem), Jon is quietly taking some of the most perfectly perfect images and posting them in his very nonchalant — but precise — manner.

His images have titles like “Seafoam View” or “Fish Tiles” or “Voyeur View”. Short, poetic, and succinct. I’ve quit commenting on his images, as a matter of fact, because how many variants of “I love this” or “Why didn’t I take this” or “Perfect” can a girl post before she begins to feel really, truly rotten about her own Instagram feed?

The worst part is that — on top of that maddening skill — Jon is a natty dresser. Creative Director of his own thriving design concern. And a truly charming partner with whom one can effortlessly spend an entire evening drinking wine and talking.

Hey, Jon. If I could see all the beauty you see, I’d be happy with the mundane, too.

xo, V.


The preternaturally stylish Jon Lo

The definition of the “good life” is probably different for everyone. However, to me, I think it basically means just being able to live life doing what you love. I guess the hard part is realizing that it’s not necessarily that hard to attain, at least in small increments at a time. The “Good Life” doesn’t  have to mean extreme luxury or wealth. Being able to enjoy the moment- whether you’re having a great brunch with amazing food and friends, shopping at a fantastic store, laying in the sun, or just being able to sleep in on the weekend- are all examples that we can experience of living a pretty “good life”.

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All images by Jonathan Lo/Happy Mundane.