My FAVORITE photographer :: Melanie Acevedo!

52WEEKS photo by Melanie Acevedo

I don't know about you but I am ALWAYS inspired by my friends, they are just the type of company I like to keep! Some inspire you to cook, some inspire you to look good and put yourself together (even when all you want to wear is sweatpants and a t-shirt), some inspire you to grow a garden or take on a chicken coop (still thinking about that one...) but you see how it goes... they ALL inspire you in some way to be more interesting and do bigger things! One of my favorite friends in this respect is Melanie Acevedo, I met her when she photographed our house for Domino Magazine. Her work is SO gorgeous and voluptuous that she made our home look amazing! Which is usual for her if you look at all her work... (website here) and I can always tell her images when I see them in magazines and books, they are just RADIANT!

52WEEKS photo by Melanie Acevedo

52WEEKS photo by Melanie Acevedo

Recently she started a blog called 52WEEKS, where she shares her home life - the 52 weeks in a year on a daily basis. "I wanted my children to see how I saw them, since memories fade my images will be a part of their memories, my gift to them. The everyday moments of our lives together" and that's what they are in rich, Melanie Acevedo style. Melanie is an upfront, life is too short so I'm gonna do everything, kind of person, she lives her life by her own rules and with her family firmly attached to that life.

52WEEKS photo by Melanie Acevedo

52WEEKS photo by Melanie Acevedo

Just so that you get to know this inspiring person just a bit for yourself, I thought we could have a little Q&A so here we go:

Carina: You recently moved out of the city, how do you like the 'country' life!?

Melanie: I really LOVE it!! I had spent almost 30years in the city! I ADORE NYC! Always will, but I had "DONE IT", you know? There really is something so wonderful about pulling up in my driveway and having like 5 kids come spilling out the front door, down the stairs, and onto the front lawn! laughing and screaming all the way! You really don't get that in NYC! And besides, I'm in the city everyday when I'm not away on location somewhere else!The air is so fresh here too, the move has really helped me feel calmer and much more centered.

photos by Melanie Acevedo

C: Your photography packs such a PUNCH for me... is that intentional?

M: I'm flattered you of all people would say that! You being such an AMAZING artist/writer/photographer yourself! I just try to capture the "MOMENT", whatever it may be at the time. If my work does "Pack a PUNCH", then I'm so very happy! Perhaps I actually have captured something real and relate-able then!

C: In your new blog '52WEEKS' you are chronicling they days in the life with your kids - tell us about that, how were you inspired? Will we see a book in the future on this!? (say YES!)

M: Well, I have been talking about a book actually!  I'm still trying to formulate what kind of broader appeal 52WEEKS may or may not have, and I feel like that's important. There are so many photographic books out there now that have no real relevance to other people besides those in the photographic community. I'd like to do something that does, so I'm still exploring the issue.
I started this project because I felt like I wanted to challenge myself to do something that actually meant something to me on a deeper level than my commercial work, and I wanted to approach it in a completely different way than I do my "professional" work. What i realized was that the subject that was really the most compelling to me was one that I saw and really truly experienced everyday, my children. The things that i would see them doing were always so intriguing to me. I also LOVE just picking up the camera and shooting. Not worrying about anything at all about the styling or the clothes, but to truly just shoot snapshots and watch the evolution of how I saw my kids through the camera and to what extent this part of my photography would influence the other parts.
photos by Melanie Acevedo

photos by Melanie Acevedo
C: Do you see yourself as an Art photographer or Journalistic photographer - what do you like to do BEST?
M: I definitely do NOT see myself as an ART Photographer, or a Journalistic photographer either. I actually see myself as pretty much of a hack! I actually just really like taking pictures, and I like taking pictures of all kinds of things, I don't really like any one thing better than the other.
(-I have to interject here... that you could get a slightly bigger head Melanie.. you are FAR from a hack and at the top of a mountain of photographers, with a pretty good view! - that's MY opinion!)

available at Erica Tanov

C: I love UNDECORATE I think it's really your thing.. what do you like about the book? or what was your input for the book (I have a feeling it was more than photos?)
M:  Well, Thanks, I like it very much myself. I actually did get to contribute quite a lot to the project, mostly because of Christiane Lemieux's  incredible generosity and interest in collaboration. Some of the subjects in the book are actually personal friends of mine, and people I had photographed in the past that I thought would be welcome additions to the mix of subjects. It was a very fluid experience, and we really were able to go in and let the voice of the individual houses and owners shine through. I really enjoyed being able to just go in and take pictures and not have to spend 20 mins moving a vase around a table to "get it right"! What the subjects already had going on was just fine!
C:  One of the things I remember from our shoot together was that you wouldn't let me really fix up ANYTHING you wanted it how it was.. even my clothing... I thought that was incredible insight from you and a way I think your images always look like you want to be there and NOT like a museum! This comes through in 52 Weeks.. it's how it REALLY IS!

photos by Melanie Acevedo

C: I know you are an INSANELY busy person (anyone else would be ragged with the schedule you keep!) how do you juggle it all... any TIPS?
M: I sleep ALOT!!!!!! HAH! No really, I do, it's so important. I go to bed super early almost every night. I also have a great support group around me. My husband is really instrumental in me being able to do the things I do. I really don't think he's ever asked me not to go on a trip or do a job.When I am in town and not traveling, I very rarely go out, I much prefer staying at home and doing things with my family. I also really have a hard time keeping it all together, like any working mother.One of the things I've also learned is that it's OK to ask for help when you need it.

C: Do you like to cook? are you cooking more now in the 'country'?
M: I do like to cook very much! I don't have much time to do it, even outside of the city. I do try to cook on the weekends as much as possible, and we really like having people over for meals. I like to say that I can't do very much that well, but the 2 things I CAN do well, are take pictures and roast a chicken!
C: You have probably been just about everywhere in the world for your work but if you could live anywhere, where would you be?
M: I would be on a beach, in a little house with a fireplace. Maybe in Anguiila, or out at the end on Montauk.
photos by Melanie Acevedo
C: Who's house was your favorite to photograph or favorite assignment?
M:  I loved photographing Christian Loubutain's house in Egypt for HOuse and Garden. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time, it was really an amazing trip, and I will never forget it!
C: Your kids are so involved in your energy and your life, is that important to you?
M: I used to think that what made me happy and what was important were things like fancy hotels, first class travel, the right couch, the right silverware, etc, etc. But after a lot of living, and loosing, and learning, I've realized that these thing may work for alot of people, but not for me. My family is my heart, my soul,my life. All my best ideas come from them, and being around them. Without them, the rest is meaningless.

C: For the 'woman on the GO' what are some of your favorite products for a busy lifestyle?
reid.damnit handbag
M: I love the IPhone of course,  Chapstick-strawberry or cherry, my REID.DAMNIT army green canvas bag that my friend Christina gave me, Patricia Wexler skin products, my mac lap top.
C: my readers always like to know about any new 'obsessions' be it food, clothing, exercise... whatever.. what are yours!?

shop rodney yee here

M: Well, I lOVE Rodney Yee's yoga DVD's so much!  You can do them ANYWHERE! He has one that is a 5 day, 20 min practice to do in the morning that really is wonderful! I give it to people ALL the time cause it really can help you feel terrific! And I know I was late getting on the boat, but I just started eating at SHAKE SHACK, and I can NOT stop thinking about the cheeseburgers there! I am obsessed with them and can't get enough!!!!!!!!!
Thank you Melanie for spending so much time with us... and visit 52 Weeks for more images!
some more images... just because you deserve it!

photos by Melanie Acevedo

photos by Melanie Acevedo

photos by Melanie Acevedo

photos by Melanie Acevedo


as if you needed help shopping...

It's almost hard these days NOT to get roped into these shopping sites where they pull together items for you and show them off -- at a discounted price of course. There are some crappy ones out there, but in the same breath there are some really wonderful ones that I think are fun and even if you don't shop you can see what's out there.

One of the biggest and most popular is Gilt Group - and I started with Jetsetter which I am hooked on to dream about places I want to go... I don't often go but there is a time in my day that I like to just.. d r e a m and take a vacation in my mind, then I go to Jetsetter. But the Gilt group also has shopping, which I have signed onto somehow in the last few months and they have some nice things at discounted prices.

My favorite is Uncovet.com, they are a carefully curated one of a kind items that are sometimes vintage sometimes not... at discounted prices. Whoever is curating always does a good job of finding unique things, bravo!

Fab.com is also pretty energized with very cool and interesting things.. they seem to be totally in the know.. there seems to be a random selection of home, clothing, etc...

Edition01 is quite good for clothing - they have big names create things just for them... (or at least I think that's how it goes)

of a kind - this shopping site offers a limited number of items, so if you are into the unique you might like this site...

all fun, just more ideas on making shopping fun!


FLORIDA road trip!

road trip to FLORIDA - this is Miami from the terrace at Fountaine Bleu

During our kids Spring Break from school we decided to take a road trip down to Florida! We checked on flights and this year they just seemed so CRAZY that we decided to forgo the plane and DRIVE. Considering we are pretty good at the road trip thing by now we thought we had it down, but somehow there are always new things that POP up! So here is our trip from Rhode Island to Florida, I hope that this helps you plan YOUR trip better or sparks some ideas on places to go.. and at the VERY least it will help you to spark an idea for your family to take a ROAD TRIP somewhere!

this has to be one of the weirdest things we saw... piggybacked Mack truck cabs

DAY ONE: RI to NY to Richmond, VA
DAY TWO: Richmond, VA to Savannah, GA to Vero Beach, FL (hotel: Costa d'Este)
DAY SIX - DAY EIGHT: Vero Beach, FL to Miami Beach, FL (hotel: Fontainebleau)
DAY NINE: Miami Beach, FL to Somewhere in GA!?
DAY TEN: GA to Washington D.C.
DAY ELEVEN: Washington D.C. to NYC to RI

bridge on the way out of Savannah, GA

So that was the itinerary and what we planned and did NOT plan for... Start on Friday by taking the kids out of school two hours early on the Friday before Spring break so that we could get to NYC and have an early dinner with friends and then drive on a bit through to Virginia, my husband has done this trip a few times before to go to ART Miami so he was clued into the fact that you need to get though Virginia  in NONtraffic hours to get yourself anywhere. So we kind of screwed ALL that up by leaving RI at 3pm which brought us into NYC at rush hour on a FRIDay NOT a good idea... At any rate we were there for dinner with friends at our favorite place for the moment, The Standard Grille and it's conveniently located on the West Side Highway which makes things easier. We ended up having too much fun and left at 10pm... so we were on the road until 2am to make it to Richmond, VA.. at which point we could just pull over and stay in a Holiday Inn (which my son fell in love with and always wanted to stay at a Holiday Inn.. "the best hotels EVER" in his opinion.. yes, we have different opinions of the BEST HOTEL EVER!). The next day we drove to Just outside Savannah GA, we had the idea to spend the morning there and then drive all afternoon into Florida. We didn't have any of our hotels booked for the road portion of the trip, but just pulled over wherever we could, it was slightly risky as it was Spring Break and everyone else was doing the same trip that we were, but whenever we figure out where we were going to stay for the night, I went online and booked a hotel through hotels.com from my phone (we learned this trick the first night from someone else who was arriving late - thanks for the tip, guy!).

the main plaza with cafe's and shops

local rif raf.. (no.. that's my husband!)

local health food store (there is no Whole Foods) + local organic coffee shop
best looking vespa shop I've ever seen!

one of my favorite buildings... the whole town is built on many squares, you always have outdoor green space in this Savannah!

Savannah, GA - I LOVED this place... I seriously think I could live there... it was beautiful on the eyes, and it felt like it had a 'heart' as well. We went on a horse drawn tour so we got the scoop and she told us lots of interesting stories about the history of Savannah, along with some of their famous ghost stories (much of Savannah is built on grave yards so... of COURSE there are a few irritated ghosts around, but most of them are nice!). There is a very well placed Art school called SCAD which brings in a good amount of interesting young people. The food is great with lots of cafe's and intriguing restaurants. We sat in the Square and had lunch and let the kids run around a bit and scoot on their scooters.

On our way down to Vero Beach, Florida I found a terrific website that helped us find interesting places to eat along the I95... This is one of the main problems of taking a road trip, bad food along the way... BUT the "I-95 Gourmet" came to the rescue! I came upon it entirely by accident while trying to find traffic reports. We used it to find all of our meals for the entire road trip! Each restaurant has to be just about a mile or less off the I-95. Our first stop was in Titusville, FL a place called "Dixie Crossroads" (exit 220 in Florida) super cute for kids and nice quality food for everyone. Their specialty was Rock Shrimp but all kinds of seafood was available. They have a fish pond and give out fish food for kids to feed the fish... cute!

beautiful entrance to Costa d'Este in Vero Beach, FL

reception and restaurant

pool area and just beyond is the Ocean! (nearby on the left is a bar and place to eat)

the sleepy town of Vero Beach!

By nightfall we made it to our destination at Costa d'Este in Vero Beach (Sander did say that THIS was really the BEST hotel EVER!) :). As usual, and if you frequent my blog you will know that we usually stay part of our vacation at a place that I choose and then part at a place my husband chooses, I wish we had the same holiday in mind when we go places but we rarely do! Vero Beach was MY choice in the this case, I had heard of this hotel somehow and I don't really remember but a year ago I heard about it, this place is owned by none other than Gloria Estefan... funny right, well she did a fantastic job! We walked in and the place was wafting with incense and I KNEW I was in the right place! The staff was very pleasant and nice, but kept their distance enough to just enjoy the place. Unlike my husband I like to stay in small quiet places, I like our kids to find friends while we are staying at a place and it usually works out that way... and I like things to be tuned down, easy and extremely comfortable! They had a beautiful Spa on location and the food was mostly local if not organic... this place was a REAL treat and I felt like we found a nice comfortable gem. We really never had to leave the place and I LOVE that! Most of the people staying at the place were local or not from far away. I would also like to add that I like small hotels because I feel like our kids can have a bit of autonomy and I don't have to hover all over them. At Costa d'Este they were able to go to the beach or pool as both were easy and very few people. I don't want to go overboard here but the fixtures in each of the rooms was amazing quality... solid wood, not cheap veneers and beautiful bathrooms... it was really extremely comfortable!

winding through the hallways... Where do we check IN!?

complex from the outside! Fontainebleau

After two days we got back into the car and drove down to Miami Beach, I've never been there so it was a REAL experience for me, but it IS beautiful! We stayed at the Fontainebleau - right on the strip with all the other Miami Beach hotels... VERY different from our earlier stay in Vero Beach. This place took a big hotel to NEW heights... this is SUPER BIG... if you forgot something in your room you can say goodbye to your family for about an hour, while you go back up, through the complex and then back down again... It's not better or worse, it's just different! We had a great time here as well but we found it was more interesting to leave our hotel and eat outside, and our place of choice each day... YARDBIRD

Yardbirds! our favorite place in Miami Beach!!

BEST deviled eggs! (those are two sunburned, FULL cheeks with eggs!) and a home made watermelon/lemonade!
This is the REAL specialty at Yardbirds, fried chicken biscuits! - YUM! (they have fantastic Bourbon drinks for adults as well!)
interior... so FANTASTIC!

LOOK for this!!
Because you have to walk off all of the calories you have just consumed.... albeit happily consumed... you did consume them non-the-less! Now you need a WALK, just a few steps away is the beautiful Lincoln Road - we spent hours walking around and looking at people, cafes, shops, etc... and the Architecture.. so nice!

open fountains and parks!

Herzog and de Meuron parking garage

more great architecture!

our favorite book store! Books & Books!
After two - three days in Miami Beach I was done... and it was time to return home. The kids had a blast, we felt some sunshine on our cheeks and we had a great time. We felt as though it was good for the kids to know how long it took to drive across (North and South at least) the United States and I'm not sure that they really understood that part of the trip but I did feel it was nice to travel together as a family, spend an extremely long time in a car together and still get along with each other, and we did it! We had a really great trip, I would suggest it any day to a family! GO on.. and get on the road!

we stopped in North Carolina (at a place suggested by the -95 gourmet) and found a street fair going on so we joined in for a dance and a bite to eat... !! so much FUN!

On our way back we used the I-95 gourmet and it was extremely helpful, we NEVER ate fast food on the entire trip! We spent approx. $200 on gas and about $250 on hotels on the way down... not bad...

On the return trip we decided to stay in Washington D.C., we stayed at the newly renovated Madison Hotel and it was posh and perfect! They have a new restaurant in the hotel and we just cozy-ed down and stayed at the hotel, got up in the morning and went to the National Geographic Museum, took a road tour of the city, said HELLO to the Obama's! :) and then back on the road again... home to Rhode Island!

I-95 Gourmet
Costa d'Este - Vero Beach, Florida
Fontainebleau - Miami, Florida
Yardbird, Miami Beach, FL
The Madison Hotel, Washington, DC


favorite summer shoes!

I love these shoes and so many people have been asking me about them lately so I had to write a blog... here you go... they are from DNA Footwear in Brooklyn... they are only $59 - $69 bucks! and a real favorite... I will have to tell you a little story that goes along with them, and it goes like this.

Many years ago (1990's to be exact..), my sister Linda and I were in Paris, we get crazy when we are together... I think ALL sisters do that right? well we are no different. We walked our feet off looking at EVERYTHING and hardly stopped (if I remember correctly we were antique hunting for her newly built home, what a chore... NOT!). By the second day our feet we just DEAD... and we saw one of those 'healthy" shoe stores (I believe they are for older people and nurses, but there we were). It was like we had met HEAVEN we sat down and had millions of shoes in front of us, we each walked out with 2-3 pair of shoes by the German shoe company Worishofer, I have coveted them ever since! When we saw each other wearing them we would say "I still have mine too!" and they have forever meant comfort. BUT I have never seen them in the US until now...

These are the most comfortable shoes you will OWN - hands down! and not so bad looking.. right!? DNA footwear has many colors and styles for you to choose from but be careful and be practical, I promise you the snake is not so... great... so just keep it to black, red.. if you are crazy and whatever else... And you can think of me and my sister in Paris when you wear them!

DNA footwear - shop online here.