My mother, a true Anglophile, brought me up surrounded by more than a few of her favorite British things. The first real, hearty books I read as a child were Agatha Christie mysteries and Charles Dickens novels. Every Thursday was Masterpiece Theatre night featuring an array of her favorite actors from the UK, and I was probably the only 12-year-old kid in school who (at the time, don’t quiz me now) knew the entire history of the English Royal Family.
So of course my heart raced when I saw that Crown & Crumpet opened in the historic Ghirardelli Square of San Francisco. This is a traditional tea salon with a kicky twist. Just look at these photos and you’ll see what I mean. As owners Amy and Christopher Dean said themselves, it’s “doily-free” yet still evokes the same comfort, relaxation, and elegance of a real English tearoom.
As much as I love the Pump House in Bath and the adorable tea houses in Devon, I think this would be the ideal place for an unforgettable bridal shower or even a baby shower, if you want to think that far ahead! Count me in for afternoon tea!
Are you still lugging around that tired old suitcase your Aunt Stella gave you for a high school graduation present? You’re not taking that relic with you on your honeymoon, are you? Think of it: Your traveling outfits rock, your face is still glowing from your pre-wedding facial, you’re already sporting a deep bronze tan (thanks, tanning salon!) and you haven’t even made it to Maui yet. You look hot…so shouldn’t your luggage be haute, too?
Enter Halsea, the fresh, breezy way to tote your belongings from your hometown to Cancun. Halsea’s luxe luggage is the essence of upscale beach chic. With evocative names like “Crescent Bay” and “Boat Canyon,” Halsea’s ocean-inspired prints in colors reflecting the sea and sun ensure your roller bag will be easily recognizable among the generic black and gray suitcases on the airline luggage carousel. Beautifully constructed with pink satin lining and leather and cotton trim, Halsea is functional and attractive, strong yet feminine, modern and classic—just like YOU!
Halsea owner/designer Sally Bartz is one smart cookie. She’s written “How to have a Hang-loose Honeymoon: Five Tips for Packing Your Carry On”. Hint: Bikini? Yes. Flannel PJs? Uh, no.
It’s a shame, really. All that time, effort and money spent on finding the wedding dress, and you really only ever wear it the one time. Fashion designer Hanna Hartnell of HARTNELL Santa Monica feels you, and has come up with an ingenious solution—the Double Dare Gown.
Known for her slinky silhouettes that are custom-made to your own measurements and color preference, Hanna’s newest innovation is a sensuous silk dress with a flirty side-slit offering a glimpse of leg (and garter!). But this gown has a secret double life: Lined with another layer of silk in a contrasting color, it’s reversible! On one side, your dress may be wedding white—but order the lining in soft rose, whimsical turquoise, gold, black or whichever shade you fancy, and voilà! You have a gorgeous formal gown to wear to someone else’s wedding.
Available in three different designs, the dress’s colored lining will accent your wedding look as it peeks through the side slit. Another flourish of genius: Hartnell’s coordinating two-toned silk flower pin that’s a perfect embellishment, whichever side (of the dress) you’re on!
Not only do you get two oh-so-sexy dresses for the price of one, but at $1,200-$1,800, the Double Dare Gown is within reach of most bridal budgets. And since it really is reusable, this clever dress (made with a type of natural silk that’s processed with clean technology) is perfect for green weddings, too.
So go ahead and indulge…we double dare you!
P.S. Hanna is expert at custom mail-order for Brides and Moms, so even if you don’t live in So Cal, you can order the Double Dare Gown from anywhere!