interior decor and design in whites and antique

You know when you buy an old house in San Francisco – Edwardian or a Victorian mostly – it is important to decorate the inside to bring out the true charm of the house. Modern seems to work here and there, but in old homes, the design and decor must compliment each room perfectly. Here’s what I would consider if I were lucky enough to overbid on such a property in one of the most expensive cities to live in.



{inspiration from here}

a ghastly story: the phantom of the opera

I love reading about the story behind the story. I do it for all films and write  about it of course here. So, it’s no wonder that I stumbled upon this story and had to share it.

I think I became a fan of The Phantom of the Opera when I saw the performance on stage in San Francisco circa in the 90s. But what solidified my admiration of the musical was seeing it with Gerard Butler years later.  At least I admit it :).  The interesting part about it is that I’ve gone to Paris at least once a year, if not twice for decades, and never once considered setting foot inside the Garnier Opera House. I’ve made a trip to the area, and stood across the street from the monumental building admiring it from the outside, always feeling too eery to go inside. Then of course I found this story, reading it at some ungodly hour of the morning – to be exact at 3:00 a.m. when I couldn’t stay asleep anymore, my mind consumed with life thoughts.

I knew it, I thought. The mystery behind the opera house would have led me to imagine the unthinkable, forcing me during the tour to flee, for fear of never making it out alive. That’s my imagine for you. Anyway. read it and see for yourself. And if you’ve seen the inside of the amazing opera house, please share. Have you seen the lake? And is the Phantom just inside my mind?


Garnier Opera House – Then


Garnier Opera House – Now


something’s going on

Every year around this time – always nearing September – I feel a little uninspired, and overly emotional. I think it’s the impending season change. I rectified this problem  in recent years with a two-week trip to Europe  – the first part of September. Which helped in the transition of changing seasons and all. This year however, I won’t be doing that. Instead I am going to stay local, and take a very short trip down to Los Angeles to unwind and reflect – planning how 2015 would pan out. Yes, one may believe it’s too early but not for me. I have way too much to do next year, and need to plan.

In the meantime, I try to stay a little distracted, by writing, working on my third novel, and by finding photos online to help me escape. This photo, although not my decor style, for some reason put a smile on my face. Perhaps because it reminded me of my aunt’s house in South of France – whimsical, light, airy and very Monet. A room I can actually see myself nestled on the sofa with my dog, reading book after book, without a care in the world…

In the News 28.08.14 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets compiled by P.F.M.

healthy recipe: french lentil kale soup


I found this recipe mostly by accident. I was researching online for info on organizing a local expo and strangely enough this recipe popped up. So I clicked on it for a number of reasons. French->Lentil->Kale-> Three of my favorite things. I tagged it and saved it, slowly getting ready for soups I plan to make this coming Fall/Winter (which technically is our summer here in San Francisco) but, just in case we experience a real winter this year, dipping down below 50degrees F, I will turn to soups, paired with toasted tortilla pieces for some substance.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 32 ounces vegetable stock
  • 5 kale leaves, washed
  • 1 1/2 cups precooked French lentils
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute on medium-low heat until the onion is translucent.
  2. Sprinkle the oregano and cumin and stir. Then pour in the vegetable stock. Increase heat to medium-high and boil the stock until the carrot is soft.
  3. While the stock is cooking, work on the kale leaves. Tear the kale into bite-size pieces, avoiding the tough center stem. Add the torn kale leaves and the french lentils to the soup. Boil just until the kale turns bright green and wilts just a little, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper according to taste.

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boutique hotel pick – shutters on the beach – santa monica, california

I just realized, I share with all of you boutique hotel picks everywhere but my home state  – California. Well, in light of the fact I will be down in Los Angeles very shortly, to spend an entire week of promoting my books and research for my next book :), I decided to include one of my favorite spots to stay while in the Santa Monica area. In fact, you might just run into to me if you are in Los Angeles – details to follow shortly.

In the meantime, Shutters is a uniquely fun property to stay. A place some may consider overpriced, but it is definitely worth every penny.  There are also some amazing deals on every travel site possible for the property, and also some on the hotel’s own website here, so consider the hotel for sure – especially for a romantic weekend getaway and who knows, you may very well run into some celebrity while you are there.  I also love the fact 3rd street is walking distance as well as the newly renovated Santa Monica shopping mall with high-end shops and boutiques. Also close are the Santa Monica Pier, Malibu, The Getty Villa, beach towns along the coast and fine restaurants, and if you happen to be a fan of UCLA like I am, that’s near by too.