Thursday, January 28, 2016

What $100 million buys you

Self made-billionaire Andrew Beal recently closed on a historic residential real estate purchase in Dallas, Texas. Albeit that the property was listed for $100 million U.S., it is unlikely that the investing guru paid full price for the estate. Former owners Tom Hicks and his wife Cinda reportedly poured $100 million into the renovation and additions to the home that took almost three years to complete. You don't have to be a math whiz (like Mr. Beal) to understand that the estate value far exceeds the list.

The interior footage of the home totals 32,275 sq feet, but volumes to 67,689 with terraces. Walnut Place, originally named the Crespi Estate, sits on 25.25 acres complete with its own forest and ponds, and is only a seven minute drive to downtown Dallas. Land alone in this vicinity is on average $2 M per acre, setting this parcel of land at a value of $51 Million.

The oasis features several ancillary buildings including a 'Recreation Complex' complete with a pool, spa, full size theatre (with rear view projection), and additional suites for guests. The piĆ©ce de resistance is the 3,000 sq foot Master Suite, as if anyone could choose just one incredible feature. 

It is noted by Realtor Allie Beth Allman that Mr. Beal plans to leave the estate intact. Here is hoping that he develops a new name for the property - Walnut Place on Hollow Lane doesn't have a $100 million dollar ring to it.... or is it just me.

Enjoy a small portion of the tour......

Private bath for 'her'

private bath for 'him'

Master Suite

To read more about the details of the custom features and view more pictures visit HERE.

My Wedding Dress HUNT

There are so many decisions to be made for our upcoming wedding, but one of the most daunting was choosing 'the dress'.

I was just turning twenty the first time I got married, it is an understatement to say that I was too young. I don't even remember buying my wedding dress. There is no memory of a thrilling, exciting moment a'la 'is this THE dress'  kind of scenario.

Vintage Lanvin - The dream dress design.

So now, here I am at 57 shopping for 'my wedding dress'. It really is a 'ta-da' kind of experience this time. It's taken me a bit to wrap my mind around what I think is appropriate to wear at this time of my life.

I had a what-not-to-wear list in my mind. I didn't want to wear typical white wedding dress, a veil, a mother of the bride dress, or look like a guest. This seriously narrowed the options, I needed an intervention. This is were my daughter began to coach me and became my cheerleader (and isn't that why I asked her to be my Maid of Honour). Monique listened to me talk my way through the idea's and continually told me 'it's your special day, go for it. You need to feel special and have a pretty wedding dress'. I love that we shared this experience together.

Let me cut to the chase and say - I've ordered a dress and I'm excited about my choice. It is soft, romantic, and a bit of a vintage style; exactly the way I want to feel when I meet Richard to take our vows. I'm not sharing the colour because I think it should be a sweet surprise on our wedding day. But as I stood in the dress starring at my reflection in the mirror, I thought - 'he would so love this on me'. And I knew that it was a special dress for our special day.

But, I LOVE VINTAGE ......... so I digress.

The straight lines of a sheath dress with a bustle skirt makes my heart skip a beat. These silhouettes were the inspiration for my dream dress. 

My dream dress wish list hinged on this vintage style - a sheath style gown with a bustle skirt to flow gently off at the hips. Why is it that the models in most vintage fashions have 20 inch waists. Even with a stringent exercise/diet program I will never wear a pinch waist gown, but maybe a hint of the silhouette could be achieved.

The dream dress was of course not going to be found on a rack anywhere -
well, at least not in this era.

We all know our body type well, what we feel best in, what makes us shine. And for me the Lanvin v-neck sleeveless gown with bustle skirt (in the first picture) was like a skin crying out my name. OK - maybe a bit dramatic, but I knew it would work without even putting the dress on. My tenacious soul always has a plan B, and I knew if I wanted this dream dress it would have to be custom made.

I lined up the possibilities of two well noted bridal dressmakers. And I had in my back pocket the brave request of a friend (who is a couturier in Toronto) to make the dress to my specifications. I was certain he would be less than thrilled to have me design the dress and cramp his creativity.

I loved the idea of having a large garden print, perfect for our summer wedding. The perfect combination - vintage allure, large floral pattern, a dress with colour. In my mind I had visions of me hunting for months to find the perfect fabric to capture the look ... and then of course driving a seamstress crazy getting it to match my dream.

Look at these stunning frocks. Once again, here is the very strong evidence that I was born in the wrong era. My Vintage Love pinterest board is visual proof.

Love the neckline and the floral pattern.

After searching the images of bridal designer styles for the upcoming season, I realized they design very few gowns a bit off the beaten path. And I wanted to go way off the path with a sheath style dress in large floral and a bustle train in a soft sheer fabric. The Dream Dress was getting complicated.

So instead, maybe something like this......

soft floral, flowing style

or a print in the sheath style....

this print in a sheath style

LOVE this fabric

At my daughters urging I decided to try on various styles, fabrics, and colours to explore all the possibilities.

Keeping an open mind to something other than the dream dress was important.

Designers are adding more gowns with colour to their collections, soft pastels that compliment soft fabric details. Maybe they are beginning to understand that brides - second time or not, want something unique. I'd love to see designers play with generous floral patterns and revisit the pages of vintage couture for upcoming bridal designs.

Love the lines of these two gowns.

My dress is on order and it is beautiful.
It's very different than the floral print dream dress and much more 'bridal' than I imagined. I have to admit I've had a few 'what the heck was I thinking' kind of moments after I ordered it. Maybe it is just that buying a wedding dress is not an everyday occurrence.

My wedding dress is soft and feminine with a romantic vintage vibe that I love. I'm excited about slipping it on this June and meeting my groom at the alter to take our vows.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


On the way to tackling my to-do list this morning,
the glistening from the lake caught my eye. 
How could I possibly resist this vista.
Moments like this don't last.

The list was put on pause while I took in the beauty of Lake Ontario.

Enjoy the pause.

Look closely and you will see the geese flying just over the top of the lake water.

Lake Ontario. Old Oakville.

Happy Friday. 
Enjoy the Pause that the weekend brings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


 In our 'me first' world, 
sometimes we need to be reminded that to give, 
is to receive.

GIVE yourself a gift. 
Learn to GIVE more.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Hello New Year

As New Year's go, I don't generally look back as I'm moving forward.......
unless it's to say 'thank heavens that is done'.
Haven't we all had a year or two like that?

This year, time is going to move a bit quicker for me.
So it's important that I jump in and swim quickly.

My New Year's resolution promise is always simple (it makes it easier to attain, don't I know), and usually consists of me promising that I will take better care of myself.

This year the RESOLUTION (see, already committing to something bigger) is to write my list down, set the goals with a timeline and journal them daily. This is my stay on track plan so I can accomplish the things I need to; especially the simple things that get put to the bottom of the list.

As I welcome 2016, I have to admit that the last year was a wonderful prelude to what is coming this year. Richard and I were engaged last February and we will be married this June. So the 'to-do list' for 2016 is long and the promises to myself have a tight timeline.
The journal and list app are both in full swing.

Part of the plan is committing more to this blog. There is so much to share (especially with wedding plans in full swing) and I want to offer more to my readers. 
Like the bride - the blog needs a fresh new face. 
Changes are coming.

And YOU. 
Do you make a resolution or promise for the new year?
Even quietly to yourself? 

What are your plans for 2016?