Friday Feature: My New Favorite Book + A Giveaway!

the-delicious-life-of-julia-child-2If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know how much I am obsessed with love Julia Child.  She has been an inspiration for years and in the past couple years after watching the movie Julie and Julia, reading My Life in France and just stalking Julia online, naturally, my love affair continues to grow.  I literally used her in a presentation a couple weeks ago – the lady started her career/published her first book at the age of 49!  She’s AWE-SOME on so many levels.

While I was in San Francisco this past weekend, I saw this children’s book at a boutique on Fillmore street and almost died.  Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland.  I bought all the copies in the store (there were two) and the next store we went to was a men’s store so while Rick shopped, I sat down and read the book.  It’s fascinating and creative and inspiring.  And it also made me realize I want to read more children’s books in my life.  They are far less complicated, much more fun to read and just simple.  I think authors could learn a lot from children’s books.  I have since read it two more times and plan on reading it at least 100 more times in the coming months.

It’s a perfect gift for adults and children alike (per point above).  Or, if you are obsessed with Julia like I am, it’s a must-buy for your sweet self.  OR, today could be your lucky today!  Write in a comment telling me why you love Julia Child to win a copy of this delicious book!  And feel free to share this post with any Julia lovers in your life to help someone else win!  I will pick a winner by Monday.  Trust me, you want this book.

Bon Appetit and Good Luck!

the-delicious-life-of-julia-childPhoto Credits:  Jessie Hartland

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Five Paperies I love

I am a sucker for all things paper.  I mean, after all, my blog was named after the art of writing a letter.  I love girly, monogrammed, simple and elaborate.  Gold foil, floral, striped or polka dots.  You name it, I probably bought it and probably have way too much of it.  So, I am here to share with you five paperies I LOVE.  It’s always a good reminder for us all to send a hand-written note, delivered USPS with a stamp and all.  To say thank you, say I love you or just to say hello. Snail mail is my fave and written on these cards would just be the icing on the cake!  Enjoy!

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Haute Papierann-ueno-kate-spade

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Lindsay Lettersann-ueno-rifle-paper-co

Rifle Paper Co

ann-ueno-sugar-paperSugar Paper

Three Years Ago…

San Francisco 019…Labor Day weekend, on a bench at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago, Rick asked me to marry him.  No ring.  Not on bended knee.  No flowers.  Just a simple, “sooo, do you want to get married?”

After our several year discovery process (to use work terminology), it was time.  Time to move forward.  Time to commit our lives to each other before God. Time to close our current chapter and open a new one, together.  He asks me the question.  I say yes.  After much back and forth, we decided to elope.  Elope with five people: our pastor (a dear friend) and his wife; two singers (our friends, husband and wife); and Rick’s son, Zach.

Eloped we did, after our 7 week engagement.  An engagement that was not focused on the flowers or the guest list or the venue or losing weight or the perfect dress.  An engagement that was focused on each other, preparing our hearts for a commitment that in the world, fails 50% of the time.  But with God, can succeed 100% of the time.  This is what we hang on to.  We spent hours writing our vows for each other.  And just minutes on where we would have dinner and what hotel would we stay at.  We decided on a chef’s table at Quartino and a weekend together at The Peninsula.

Three years ago I said yes, with confidence and faith that God has a perfect plan and it just so happened that the plan was one Rick and I were a part of.  I said yes to the marriage.  Yes to spending my life, in good times and in bad, with Rick.  For that moment, the unromantic, yet oddly perfect proposal, I am forever grateful.

P.S.  I took this picture in San Francisco this past weekend, to no coincidence.  I love Rick more than all the stars 🙂

Friday Round Up: Denim

With Fall coming, I am incredibly excited about the change in attire that happens as the weather starts to cool off.  Finally I can pack away the shorts that I maybe wore 3 times this summer due to the amazing cottage cheese thighs God blessed me with.  And oh yeah, the bikini’s can be thrown in with the shorts.  Enough said on that one.  Last, all of my capri pants can be stored away.  Oh wait, just kidding.  I don’t own capri pants because, well, they are arguably the most unflattering piece of clothing for anyone who isn’t 5’10” and/or a J Crew model.  Or okay, fine.  They are just incredibly unflattering on me and I am secretly jealous at all the ladies who can pull them off.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand.  DENIM!  Fall is all about layers and naturally, throwing a denim jacket or shirt over a white ribbed tank pretty much sums up what I will be wearing for the next 6-8 weeks.  I actually packed that exact outfit for my trip to San Francisco this weekend.  All this said, here are a few of my favorite denim shirts and jackets that can easily be worn as is or layered with scarfs, tees and the like.  Have a great long weekend and here’s to the beginning of a new Fall season!

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Source: Club Monaco

Ann-Ueno-Denim-4Source:  Not Available

Ann-Ueno-Denim-3Source: J Crew Ann-Ueno-Denim

Source:  Gap

Ann-Ueno-Denim-6Source:  Not Available

Ann-Ueno-Denim-2Source:  J Crew

Ann-Ueno-Denim-7Source:  Banana Republic

Weekend in Vermont

I often get asked the question, “What is your favorite place to travel to?” or “What is your favorite Starwood hotel?” Well, this past weekend could arguably answer both of those questions:  Manchester Village, Vermont at The Equinox Resort & Spa.

Here’s the deal.  I’ve written about this place before, calling it New England’s Hidden Gem and everything I said then was true and it’s the same thing I would say today.  GO THERE!  And read the aforementioned post to get the full deets and a few random other thoughts, per usual.  For now, for my weekend in Vermont post take two, let me share with you the highlights of my latest girlfriend getaway with my best friend, Eileen!

One of my favorite parts of going to Manchester Village is the drive from Albany Airport to the hotel.  It’s about an hour and 15 minutes, it’s beautiful and, well, interesting.  Eileen and I stopped off near Bennington, Vermont (seems fitting given that’s my maiden name) at Potters Tavern and it was actually a meal highlight for me.  Seeing a giant PBR truck wasn’t too bad, either.

Ahhh, The Equinox Hotel.  It’s cozy and luxurious and comfortable and magical.  It is in my top five favorite hotels of all-time…I feel super-duper blessed to get to experience this property!  And I was able to reconnect with Astri, one of the incredible concierge at the hotel.  She’s the best!

weekend-in-vermont-ann-ueno-4 weekend-in-vermont-ann-ueno-5And right behind the hotel is Mt. Equinox.  A grand mountain that offers all sort of hikes and adventure.  Eileen and I did a two-hour hike on Saturday afternoon with the sun shining through the giant trees and the 75 degree weather just perfect.  So perfect that I felt hand stands were a better way to hike vs. walking.  Naturally.

weekend-in-vermont-ann-ueno-6One of the many great things about Manchester Village is the shopping.  This quaint town, which is all of one main street, has outlet shopping combined with antique shopping combined with mom and pop stores.  They are all walkable and cater to all of our different shopping desires.  Need some fall clothes for work? Done.  Want some 1954 Stage Magazines to spruce up your coffee table?  Done.  Never been to a Marimekko outlet store?  Yeah, me neither.  Done and done.  And here’s proof below because obviously having brightly colored bean bags in front of their store makes sense.

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At The Equinox’s casual bar and outdoor area, they only serve cheese and chocolate.  Yeah, only.  I know, it’s awful, right?  This is basically my stomach’s dream.  A glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc paired with some local Vermont cheeses with a gorgeous sunset over the mountain.  I will forever hold that moment in my memory…and let’s not tell anyone I basically devoured this cheese plate below all. by. my. self.

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There is a 6-table restaurant in Manchester Village called The Silver Fork that I had heard about the last couple of times I was there, but couldn’t get in for obvious reasons.  Well, Eileen and I lucked out, thanks to Astri, the amazing concierge, and were able to get a reservation to eat at the bar.  We were happy and the food was outstanding.  weekend-in-vermont-ann-ueno-9

This happened on the last morning.  Sitting in the sun, drinking coffee, reading some of my favorite editorials and munching on their famous apple cider donuts.  Ahhhh!!

weekend-in-vermont-ann-uenoAnd similar to our drive from the airport, our drive to the airport, we had to stop at this amazing Dairy Farm for some real-deal soft serve ice cream.  It was sad to leave, but all good things must come to an end.  Thank you, Vermont and thank you Equinox Hotel for yet again, providing amazing hospitality, delicoius, local food and many memories I will carry with me forever!

HGTV Home Pop-Up Showroom Opens Today in Chicago!

Yeah.  I’m lying in bed, enjoying a morning to sleep in this past Saturday and of course, was checking FB, Insta, Twitter, Gmail, work email and plotting out my day.  When what comes into my email?  An email from The Shops at North Bridge with a subject line that says “Shop the HGTV HOME Collection + Camper Shoes Opening Soon.”  I almost fell off my bed.  This is happening and I am so excited to go!  Here are the deets:

  • Opens today, Monday August 19 and runs through September 7
    Meg Caswell Meet & Greet – Saturday, Aug. 31, from 1–4 p.m.
    Alison Victoria Meet & Greet – Saturday, Sept. 7, from 1-4 p.m
  • Shops at North Bridge – 520 N. Michigan Avenue

hgtv-home-pop-up-showroom

Friday Round Up: A Weekend in the Hamptons

ann-ueno-hamptons-13When you have friends that have a house in The Hamptons (go ahead, click…I didn’t know exactly what “The Hamptons” were either…let’s keep that secret between us, okay?) and invite you to come for the weekend, what do you do?  Yeah, exactly.  You say yes and you start packing and you book your flight and you GO!

Rick and I are so grateful that our friends Suzanne and Neil invited us into their beautiful home in Southampton.  Southampton is historic, filled with lush landscapes, mom and pop shops that you want to spend hours in and food that will make your stomach smile for weeks.  We grilled out, slept in, went for runs, drank buttery Chardonnay on the patio in the midst of the moist summer air.  We explored The Hamptons by driving down long, winding roads with shrubs the size of mountains, oooing and aaahhhing over the mansions.  We relaxed at the  beach.  We ate the most delicious blueberry pie.  We talked, told stories, shared our lives.  It was a really, really nice weekend.  I would SO recommend finding friends that have a house there so you can get the invite.  Um, and if that doesn’t happen, put it on your travel bucket list, save up your cash and stay at a bed and breakfast.

Take a look at some of the no-filter beauty I captured on my oh-so dependable iPhone lens.

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