Posts Tagged: Surfing



Holly Phillips, blogger and designer extraordinaire, announced that she had been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blog Awards (SOWBA) by Sarah Sarna a few days ago. Holly shared her list of 10 nominees of which I am one. Thank you to my travelling/design partner in crime!

A Sisterhood of the World Blog nomination means I now answer Holly’s 10 questions, select 10 new bloggers, and then ask them my own 10 questions. I love interviewing design talents for my Creative Minds series and this is a great way to ask some of my blogger pals the same questions!

1. What is your perfect paint color?

imageBenjamin Moore Fruit Shake- a perfect pink with a touch of coral like the inside of a conch shell. It complements all complexions and it is a great background for art. It also pairs well with just about every finish from black lacquer to gilt to antique mirror.

2. If you could have any job besides the one you have right now, what would it be?imageArtist, dancer or surf bum

3. If you could pick any designer, living or dead, to decorate your house, who would it be?image

Jacques Grange– A complete original and the ultimate design icon.

4. What is your dream trip?



Surfing Safari around the world

5. Best meal of your life?

image image

For me the setting and company are just as important as the food to make a meal extraordinary. My fondest dining experience was at Le Gaiac at Le Toiny in St. Barths celebrating our fifth anniversary. We were supposed to be there for our honeymoon and a hurricane hit so we ended up in Bermuda. Going back for an anniversary made the milestone ( and the delayed gratification)  that much more special!

6. Pick an all time favorite movie and an all time favorite book that you think we should all watch and read?

Movie- The glamourous side of Interior Design featuring the best interiors and wardrobe that rarely exist anymore!


Book-Who wouldn’t want a palace on the Grand Canal and canoodle with all the greatest artists of the 20th century?!?


7. Best gift you have ever received?

For my baby shower, my college girlfriends each wrote a note to my future daughter wishing her well and relaying their craziest memories of her future mama. I am waiting until her rebellious teenage (or college) years to reveal these embarrassing stories!

8. Favorite wallpaper?


The exquisite handmade papers by Fromental make me weak in the knees! I adore all of their chinoiserie and 20th century designs. Here Paradiso in Fern shows how a classic chinoiserie pattern can feel contemporary with a bold color palette.

9. If you could rewind twenty years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?


10. Chicest Hotel that you have visited or seen?




Nestled in a courtyard off Place des Vosges in Le Marais, Le Pavillion de la Reine feels like your own pied a terre in Paris. Inaugurated in 1612 under the name of Place Royale, the Place des Vosges was built on Henri IV’s initiative who died before the works were even completed. Once the Place was ready, Le Marais soon became the Mecca of high Society gatherings with the likes of Mme de Sévigné, Racine, La Fontaine and Molière. The hotel, slightly set back from the famous Place, was coined its name in honour of Anne of Austria who once stayed in the wing standing between the hotel and the Place des Vosges.

11. Piece of art that you most covet?

imageLa Tristesse du Roi-Henri Matisse


ANYTHING by Helen Frankenthaler…especially this work from the Fort Worth Modern

I nominate the following lovely ladies…

Marisa Marcontonio of Stylebeat

Jennifer Boles of The Peak of Chic

Jeanne Chung of Cozy, Stylish, Chic

Michelle Workman of Furnishing a Fabulous Life

Julia Buckingham of Material Girls

Danielle Rollins

Liza Tobias Sharp of Trellis Home

Denise McGaha

Jennifer Mehitidash of Dec-a-Porter

Sara Eilers of Lucas Eilers

And now for MY questions….

1. If you had a theme song, what would it be?

2. What is your idea of bliss?

3. What was your latest creative breakthrough?

4. What would be your dream vacation?

5. What is your secret vice?

6. What is your favorite design trick?

7. What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

8. What is at the top of your bucket list?

9. If you could own any work of art in the world, what would it be?

10. What is your favorite interior of all time?

Have fun ladies!

For more of my design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and subscribe to Bespoke Banter. Thanks for reading and please come back again!




A welcome addition to the Charlotte art scene, Southern Comfort (SOCO) Gallery recently opened to great accolades. Founded by Chandra Johnson, the gallery represents emerging and established artworks in all mediums with a specialization in photography. Its inaugural exhibition entitled “A Fluid Journey” takes its name directly from the 1969 cult surf movie documenting 1960s west coast surf culture. The exhibition explores the transformative qualities of water and leisure and how they affect our physical and mental states. Artists include LeRoy Grannis, Will Adler, Xavier Guardans, Mona Kuhn, Karine Laval, Ken Van Sickle, and Massimo Vitali.

LEROY “GRANNY” GRANNIS (American, 1917-2011)

The New York Times titled Grannis the “Godfather of Surf Photography” for capturing the golden age of surfing during the 1960s and 70s.  He began surfing at the age of 14, but did not pick up a camera until he was 42. Doctors ordered him to take up a hobby after being diagnosed with a hernia and photographing surfers at his local Hermosa Beach became his convalescence. His images show his complete immersion in the culture that surrounded him. He is considered one of the most important documentarians of the sport, and was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame in 1966. His work has been featured in Reef Magazine, Surfing Illustrated, Surfing, the 2004 award winning documentary Riding Giants, and shown at many galleries, art fairs, and museums around the world including New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London and Antwerp.


leroy-grannis-waimea-bay-no-61Grannis_Shark's+Cove,+North+Shore+(No.+102)_1974For inquiries, please contact SOCO Gallery. 



More examples of the whimsical work of Leroy Grannis…









When “Granny” passed away in 2011, surfers paddled out at Hermosa Beach in memory of him and his ashes were scattered in the ocean.



grannis1SOCO Gallery will carry an extensive book collection of hard to find and out of print art books.

WILL ADLER (American, b. 1984)

A native of Santa Barbara, CA, Will Adler also captures the life surrounding surf culture in his own distinctive fashion. His images show his complete immersion in the culture that surrounded him. His laid back, light infused images, (as often of women surfers as men) convey the spirit and atmosphere of place as much as the action of the sport. Covering many coastal hot spots such as Hawaii, Montauk, California and Mexico, he has shot for many major publications including The New Yorker, Juxtapoz, Neon, WAX, and Surfer. His commercial clients include Nike, Quicksilver, Patagonia, and Hixsept. At the young age of 30, he had his debut solo exhibition at Danzinger Gallery in New York last year, curated by his uncle, Tom Adler, the notable surf photography and graphic designer.

Mexico-2012-20x30-IMG_4432 Adler_Summerland_2012 large_will-adler-photography-thumb


Some more of Will Adler’s work…







IMG_9908-760x427 4-I3I-bzLocated in a newly renovated charming 1920’s Myers Park bungalow, the gallery will feature 1,200 square feet of exhibition space, a bookshop and garden. “A Fluid Journey” will be open through August 22nd. Gallery hours are 10AM-5:30PM Tuesday through Saturday. SOCO Gallery is located at 421 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28207.

For more of my design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter.  Thank you for visiting and please come back again!


“The eye has to travel”-Diana Vreeland

I can think of nothing more essential to my creativity than travel. Experiencing other cultures, seeing how they use color effusively without reservation, their art of presentation, and interacting with local artisans are always the greatest sources of inspiration for me. Each year I try to take one creative pilgrimage and this year’s trip to Las Olas provided unlimited doses of local color.  Founder Bev Sanders describes the village “Everyday is a new adventure in Bohemia. Street musicians, jewelry shops, taco stands, iguanas, surfers, and tourists all blend into a four block theater with the beach at center stage. It’s like we are on cast in an off-off-Broadway revue that plays non-stop for a week. But more, I love the effortlessly positive attitude.  Everyone wants to take part and help in each other’s success. Es todo bien!”

Enjoy the eye candy from some of my favorite streetscapes, beachscapes and local spots including Revolucion del Sueno, Origenes, Evoke the Spirit, and Zafiro Jewelry

Beachscape-Revolucion del Sueno

Image from Revolucion del Sueno

Revolucion del Sueno

Revolucion del Sueno

A La Palya

A La Playa


Local Beadwork


Otomi Textiles

Pom Pom Art

Pom Pom Art


Beach Shopping


Antique Textiles

Dream Catcher


Frozen Treats

Frozen Treats

Otomi Plate

Otomi Plate from Origenes


Colorful Catarinas


Antique Textiles


Rainbow of Perforated Leather Bags from Origenes

Photo May 26, 2 29 23 PM (2)

Taco Stand


Zafiro Jewelry


Zafiro Jewelry with Yarn Painted Skull

Revolucion del Sueno

Revolucion del Sueno

Revolucion Del Sueno

Revolucion Del Sueno

Revolucion del Sueno

Revolucion del Sueno



Words of Wisdom

Next post features work from the Huichol tribe found at my favorite boutique Evoke the Spirit owned by Brittney Borjeson ….



We need surf-or dance or yoga-because it reconnects us with our animal bodies. For a little while we practice moving through the world with rhythm, with an intention of efficiency and power. Without it, we become just a bunch of walking heads…This surfing project would be about growth, about connecting with the earth and growing older with grace.  

Surfing is one of the only pursuits on earth that can drum you into numb exhausting and blunt trauma time and time again and give you nothing in return; nothing but sand in your crotch, salt-stung eyes, banged temple, chipped tooth, screaming back and sunburned ears-gives you all of this and not a single stand up ride. Time and again. Day after day. Gives you nothing back but tumbles, wipeouts, thumpings, scares. And you return. You are glad to do it. In fact, you can think of nothing you would rather do.

Kook by Peter Heller 

Mexico Streetscape

In May, I checked an item off of my bucket list and went to surf camp. I was excited for this middle age body to learn a new skill, quench my wanderlust seeing a different part of the world, and be inspired by taking off on an exciting adventure. Little did I know I would be going on the trip of a lifetime that would not only change my outlook on life, but also create a passion for surfing for me and my family.


Set in a picturesque Bohemian surfing and fishing village near Puerto Vallarta, Las Olas is the world’s premier surf camp for women. Known as “the Golden Door of surf camps,” it was founded in 1997 by Bev Sanders who has dedicated over 25 years to board sports.  Her motto is “We make girls out of women” and we all certainly came home feeling younger, but also wiser. Our bodies were tired, but more tanned and toned, sides ached from laughter, and the friendships developed will last a lifetime. Bev said that her program attracts kindred spirits and I could not agree more. Together, we learned many lessons about patience, humility, going with the flow, assessing a situation (the waves) before trying to tackle them, taking risks, believing in ourselves , and the importance of feeding our souls being around positive people.

Catherine M. Austin Interior Design

We requested a villa with a view that felt like we had literally ascended to heaven. 150 steps led up to our beautiful Villa Flores with a pool overlooking the bay where we surfed each day. By the end of the week we could finally make it up the steps without stopping, but each time we saw this view, it made the trek worthwhile. The villa featured open air architecture with cabana style enclosed bedrooms. Each villa was unique in that is was styled by local craftsman and artisans.


Our days began with yoga in a garden underneath the palm trees with sea breezes cooling us off. Each movement was matched to what we would use during our surf instruction for the day. After yoga, breakfast was served on this beautiful terrace overlooking the beach. All food is sourced locally…fish from just beyond the surfbreak, mangoes from the neighbors, and fresh vegetables off the local farm truck.


After breakfast, a quick walk to town takes us to La Casita, the Las Olas clubhouse. This is the center of activity where we meet for instruction, pick up our board and learn from our world class instructors seen below…They are described as being able to “transform from hello kitty to ninja dolphins and back when necessary and mermaid miracle workers.”  Unfortunately, we did not come home this toned, but they were great inspiration, tons of fun, and the ultimate wave whisperers who helped us catch many waves.








The natural beauty of Mexico was breathtaking.  The coastline against the mountains, the diverse flowers, and the colorful people added to the splendor of this tropical paradise. The charm and optimism of this village has attracted many expatriates to relocate to the area. Everyone we met was warm, hospitable and adored the local culture and heritage.

Mexican Flowers


In addition to the daily surf instruction, we also enjoyed road trips to various secret surf spots and point breaks. Late afternoons were spent with beachside massages, siestas, shopping in the village, and happy hour on la playa watching the locals surf.






Evenings were just as much fun….from sampling various cantinas and cafes to enjoying the activities planned by Las Olas including tequila tastings and salsa dancing to the music of the Gypsy Kings(in person!) Other activities include Spanish lessons, Whale Watching (during the winter months), Huichol Beading, Stand Up Paddling, and Mexican Cooking.





I have never been on a vacation that truly checked every box…physical, emotional, psychological and philosophical. I had grown in all these areas and had not fully realized this until months after my return. I am eternally grateful for all of my surfing soul sisters who made this adventure so much fun. If we believe the quote below, we were definitely the best surfers on the beach!

“The best surfer is the one having the most fun”- Phil Edwards 


More to come on the local artisans and craftsman in my next post…