Micheal Smith at Home in Madrid

When I was in line at Los Angeles International Airport buying a bottle of water I happened to look down at the heap of magazines on the shelf below. What caught my eye was the current issue of Galerie Magazine with its beautiful cover and headline reading “Michael Smith at Home in Madrid”. I’ve been a fan of Michael Smith’s work since meeting him in the early 1990s in L.A. I follow him on Instagram and have previously featured his work, specifically covering his renovation of the White House during the Obama administration (featured here). Michael Smith’s partner, James Costos, served as Obama’s Ambassador to Madrid and Andorra for nearly four years during which time they were able to transform the official Ambassador residence. However, after the change in administration and exiting the diplomatic arena Costos and Smith found themselves wanting to maintain a residence in Spain (in addition to their home in Los Angeles). They moved their belongings to a 5,000 square foot apartment in Madrid which turned out to be a blend of classic, elegant style with bit a of modernity to it. According to Costos “Michael’s work in the apartment is perfection. I think he hit all the right notes. It has modern formality, yet it’s bright and comfortable.”

Villa Astor in Sorrento

Ciao from Italia! Mr. B and I are still traveling around Italy and although we’re actually in northern Italy at the moment (Lake Como, to be exact), I couldn’t help but share the beautiful Villa Astor located in Southern Italy. The property is probably one of the finest in Sorrento perched high above the Bay of Naples looking out toward Mount Vesuvius. The neoclassical structure was originally built by the late William Waldorf Astor, a diplomat (former Ambassador to Rome), developer (including New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel), and financier. Astor passed away in the early 1900’s and the home was then passed onto the Italian government. In the 1970s the home was purchased by shipping tycoon Mario Pane and his wife Rita. They held onto it for more than three decades before selling it in 2012. The new owners completely renovated the property in 2016 and hired famed French designer Jacques Garcia to renovate the interiors. The property is breathtaking and the renovations were documented in the book “Villa Astor: Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast” published earlier this year. The book also contains a foreword by Lord Astor of Hever, William Waldorf Astor’s great-grandson. For today let’s enjoy a bit of the beautiful Villa Astor. The current owners will actually rent it and if money is no object you might consider renting it to call it your own for a few nights. Just remember that if you decide to rent it, you must allow me to tag along!

Celebrating My Birthday Marchesi Style

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A table at Patisserie Marchesi.

Happy Birthday to me!  Mr. B and I will be celebrating my birthday today in Milan, Italy. Mr. B has a very special dinner planned for us but I can’t help but want to celebrate the entire day! As part of the festivities, I plan on buying myself some birthday gifts and stopping into Patisserie Marchesi to enjoy a piece of birthday cake.

Marchesi Pasticceria is one of the oldest bakeries in Milan, Italy. They are not only known for their fine pastries but also their stylish decor. Marchesi was first established in 1824, but in 2014 an 80% share of the company was purchased by the Italian luxury brand Prada. Even though the company has gone corporate, the Marchesi family is still very much involved in its operation. There is now a total of three locations in Milan, with the newest locations opening as recent as September 2015 and September 2016. I’ve been to the original location so this time I plan to visit the newest location in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. This particular location is actually situated on the mezzanine level over the Prada boutique. Based on the picture below, I can already tell that this will not only be a great place for a fine pastry but a perfect location for great people watching. And while I am at it, I plan to pick up some of their pastel-colored boxes for sweet treats to bring back home as souvenirs. Pasticceria-Marchesi-Galleria-Vittorio-Emanuele- Reviving charm 3Pasticceria-Marchesi-Galleria-Vittorio-Emanuele- Reviving charm 6Pasticceria-Marchesi-Galleria-Vittorio-Emanuele- Reviving charm 5Pasticceria-Marchesi-Galleria-Vittorio-Emanuele- Reviving charmmarchesi milan 4marchesi milan 1marchesi milan 2marchesi milan 3

Photos via Pasticceria Marchesi.