Thursday's with the NY Times {HOME}: "Best Sellers and Bombs, and What Stores Hope Will Lure You Back"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

This is a great interactive excerpt from today's New York Times.  Get a sense at what retailers from different boutiques around the country find are their hot & not so hot selling products and one's they're betting on to be a hit with shoppers -

Dogs & Cats - Unite!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Love, love, love Zoe Lancaster and her company, Barkology.  She has designed fun & creative ways for pet owners to proudly display their love for their "fur babies" on t-shits, hats, note cards, stickers, and carrying totes.  Always keeping animal advocacy at the heart of the business, Zoe designs a t-shirt for each new season's collection with proceeds benefiting an animal related non-profit organization.

I always noticed Zoe and her husband walking their crew of dogs in my old neighborhood, here in Atlanta.  I was living next door to her about 12 years ago.  I'll never forget the time when walking my own dog - Coffee, who lived to 16, RIP - when I noticed Zoe pulling her car over to stop at house with a pile of trash at the curb.  The owners had thrown out tired looking plants.  I watched as Zoe opened up her trunk and started to "rescue" these still alive, just not so pretty plants and take them home to be revived.  That image has always stuck with me, so of course I was not surprised to find her continuing her innate sense of compassion and spirit within her business life.

Our much loved & frequented pet food shop, Highland Pet Supply in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, is one of many purveyors that carries Zoe's line of goodies.  I am particularly fond of her pet condolence cards - simple, but elegant black & white images that speak volumes.  For more info and locations to purchase Barkology check out / For more info on Highland Pet Supply check out

Atlanta AM: Breakfast Spots

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Come the week-ends, my husband & I enjoy preparing some sort of delicious scramble, reading the paper leisurely, while also listening to NPR - Car Talk, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, and the Splendid Table. That said, I am very choosy when it comes to going out for breakfast.

We met up this morning with some of his co-worker's at Murphy's, a long established cafe in the heart of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood. I am not kidding when I say that it has been 10 years since my last visit, so I was pleasantly surprised to find Murphy's still running like a well oiled machine. The interior had been rearranged a little bit to house a wine shop area and great bar seating for those who just want to grab a quick bite. The staff & service were courteous and timely. The menu offered a nice selection of poached egg dishes, frittatas, pancakes, etc... also adding a few lunch items, but not overwhelming with too many options. Everything was tasty, fresh, and the portions were just right.

Murphy's is the perfect spot to enjoy brunch and then stroll & shop on North Highland Avenue. A word to the wise, on beautiful weather mornings, everyone seems to head to this cafe. Bring a paper and be prepared for a possible wait, they do not take reservations. For more info

I can't end this post without recommending my 2 other favorite breakfast spots. First up, when in the Inman Park neighborhood of town, a must try is Highland Bakery. The pastries, muffins, & breads are amazing and the breakfast/lunch choices are so savory! Keep in mind, this is another spot that can be jammed on the week-ends, but worth getting there. For more info

Second favorite, Rise and Dine. The quintessential breakfast spot, located in my neck of the woods, the Druid Hills/Emory University neighborhood. They serve Counter Culture coffee & cappuccinos, wonderful fresh made biscuits, and tasty classic breakfast choices. For more info

Thursday's with the NY Times {HOME}: "Finding High Design on Sale"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Taken from today's Home Section of the New York Times:

Mariette Himes Gomez, the New York decorator, will have a sale at her store, the Shop, below, on antiques and on new furniture and accessories designed by Ms. Gomez, from Jan. 27 to 31 (a chrome and glass coffee table, originally $7,900, will be $5,300); 504 East 74th Street (York Avenue), (212) 288-4971,

At the annual Knoll classics sale of furniture by midcentury designers like Bertoia and Breuer, Feb. 1 to 6, all pieces will be discounted 15 percent (a polished chrome Bertoia side chair, regularly $579, will be $492); 76 Ninth Avenue (15th Street), (212) 343-4000, and all Knoll retailers (information at Shipping will be free at the New York City store.

Christopher Peacock Cabinetry, the high-end kitchen company, is offering a 30 percent discount on cabinetry and furniture after an initial purchase of $60,000 in cabinetry, through Feb. 15; e-mail:

OffTheFloorNow, a Web site, offers discounts on designer showroom floor-model furniture (pieces now in stock by Nancy Corzine include a Valmont lounge chair with ottoman, regularly $13,000, for $5,400); information:

Shopping Alert!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I have been a longtime seller & buyer off of Ebay and Craigslist. Not only is it a great way to recycle the "stuff" we have, but both websites are amazing resources for finding just about anything you need, in excellent or even new condition. In this age of mass markets with the likes of Target, Ikea, Rooms to Go, etc... I enjoy finding pieces of furniture or accessories that were made at a time when quality reigned over quantity. The success of these big box stores results from today's notion of the "disposable" lifestyle. Our grandparents generation bought one living room or dining room set and pledged & polished that set on a daily basis out of a desire to cherish what you owned. This kid glove care is why items from that era survived, have been passed down, and are still in working order today.

I stumbled upon another great website for shopping in this format. Goodwill stores are another fun spot to explore when looking for that unique piece. It's a win/win for everyone - you get the special item for your home, and all profits are donated back to charity. What I didn't realize is that Goodwill has a online website to search for anything your heart desires, with postings from all Goodwill's around the country. The website itself is very basic. Most items are listed in an auction format, with some having a "buy it now" price. For the ability to purchase, you register just as you would with Ebay. To check out more details and to start your search go to

New Read: Elizabeth Gilbert

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who knew that one woman's personal account of her journey of self perseverance & spiritual awakening would resonate within the lives of millions of us around the world. Perhaps its due to author Elizabeth Gilbert & her novel Eat, Pray, Love being intentionally written for one close friend. Gilbert reasons that her friend might take away some insights from reading her daily notes & entries of struggle, love, fear, & balance while on her pursuit to honest awareness within.
Committed, is Elizabeth Gilbert's next chapter & continued story of "what next"? In all honesty, she is dealt a new deck a cards by the United States Department of Homeland Security when she & her "beloved" are flying back into the US via the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. She clears immigration with no problems, he on the other hand, is denied access. Here lies the rub... both have an aversion to marriage after past bitter divorces. But, marriage is their only option to remain together, at least within the borders of the United States of America. This is Gilbert's jumping off point as she continues to wrestle with her heart & mind. She fittingly describes herself as as a "bird that can swim", and her love, a "fish that can fly".
I had the good fortune to see Elizabeth Gilbert and listen to her read passages from Committed at an event on the campus of Agnes Scott College, here in Decatur, GA. She is just a delight - full of wit, good energy & sparkle. Most importantly, she left me with the understanding that we are all on a personal journey, left up to our own interpretation.
Attached is a link to the NY Times review of Committed.

Tabletop Fun & Function with Keane Collection

Friday, January 8, 2010

Creator of the Keane Collection, Kelie Kerns-Bland is familiar with both sides of the retail & wholesale gift trade, having been involved in the industry even before we became friends in 2002. Kelie's professional know how & personal design taste go hand in hand in the formulation of Keane. Identifying a unique niche in the gift market, Kelie's goal was to target smaller specialty gift shops around the country, rather than the mass market needs of larger department store chains. As a result, Keane exudes a sense of refinement for everyday tabletop needs. Each piece is hand made using sand cast aluminum. Designs vary from traditional simplicity to more holiday whimsy. Check out the website for more info & locations in your area where the Keane Collection can be purchased -

New Year: Treat Your Skin to a Facial

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I can't highly recommend enough the therapeutic skin & body care at Take Care. Lisa Coolidge and Eva Sotus are the proprietors of this cozy, boutique style establishment located in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. Lisa and Eva take a personal approach in determining what treatments are best suited for you. They recommend & use the Dermalogica and Rhonda Allison lines of skin care, while also incorporating an holistic approach to their clients' skin needs. I have been a long time fan of Eva's homemade cure all "Garden of Eva Hand Salve". More recently, Eva and an herbalist friend have started making soy candles & body scrubs with essential oils like Lavender, Peppermint, Bergamot, and Lemon.
I am a devoted client of Eva's & have been for the past 10 years. Start off 2010 will an appointment @Take Care. Try a facial, reflexology, or massage or a combination of all 3! My personal favorite combo is a facial & foot reflexology. Check out their website for info -

Lifestyle Revisions: Eating Well

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You know her from the film Clueless, but did you know she has been a long time vegan? I had heard Alicia Silverstone recently published a vegetarian cookbook providing wonderful recipes, tips, and insights. It's an interesting read, and even if you don't consider yourself a vegetarian, the recipes are still a delicious way to get whole grains, legumes, & veggies into your diet. Follow Alicia on her website -

Fresh Start 2010

Welcome to Duchess Fare, a sort of lifestyle larder, if you will. Please enjoy this blog as a resource providing tips, recommendations, reviews, & inspirations for your everyday lifestyle needs. Not only will this collection concentrate on the Atlanta area but also points beyond.

This photo is my welcome mat to you. My love of entertaining, cooking, design, conversation, landscape, & healthy well being seem to all live harmoniously in this kitchen. Enjoy & Happy Reading!
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