Design Spotlight: Cathy Kincaid

Today I wanted to share the gorgeous work of my favorite Interior Designer, Cathy Kincaid.

Kincaid is a Dallas based designer with unmatched elegance, and a talent for executing traditional style that channels a sense of the fresh and exotic. Her dexterous use of color is another hallmark, in a style that manages both abundance and restraint in equal measure.

This home in the Highland Park area of Dallas is breathtaking. The Gracie Wallpaper is beyond stunning and I have a special fondness for the sofa as we have the same one in our own living room! This room is layered with beautiful objects but the overall effect remains clear and bright.


Don’t you just die?


Moving onto a dining space. Look at the incredible Zuber wallpaper below. It’s like eating dinner in the middle of a very chic forest, where only chic animals live. Ha.


This bedroom below, from the same Highland Park property referenced above is also divine. Though her signature colors veer toward blues and whites, I love her use of natural cream and green hues in this room. Twin beds can still be incredibly chic!


I filed away the below image because of the exquisite grey on the walls. It is such a beautiful shade, isn’t it?


The abundant trellises in the sitting room below again play with the concept of bringing the outdoors in, to stunning effect. The detailed moldings on the ceilings and the gorgeous paned doors and door frames elevate the room to another height entirely.


I’ve had the below image also bookmarked for ages. I love the interplay of pattern on the ground and bright white spaces as the room gains height, as well as the subtle pops of red in the largely blue and white interior. We have a similar rug in our living room and I absolutely adore it.


Below, the insanely gorgeous orangerie she designed at a client’s home in Highland Park. The space, by Dallas architect J. Wilson Fuqua, was based on the 17th century orangeries on the grounds of Versailles. Cathy’s interior is crisp and classic, injecting the space with comfort while maintaining focus on the lush greenery beckoning from outside.


“I love the value of ‘the mix,’ Cathy says of her interiors.  “It is the one aspect of design that I adhere to—the old with the new, the ornate with the simple, the refined with the rustic. This approach expresses the personality of the client and charms their guests.” And with that, I leave you with my favorite room, possibly of all time. A Turkish inspired dining room that perfectly bridges the Middle East (faded oriental rugs, Mother-of-pearl bone inlay mirrors), the far east (in its abundance use of Chinoiserie), and western design (in the shapely chairs and crisp linens).


Cathy’s work is the ultimate study in contrasts – formal and comfortable, pattern and monochrome, crisp and lush. You can see more of her portfolio here if you’d like to explore more. All images above via Veranda and House Beautiful.

May your Mondays be filled with beauty, wherever the eye lands.


Miss Sheiky



Five Things

This week, amid mounting political chaos, there were also great bearers of hope, wonder, awe and appreciation- on a national and a personal scale. I see it fitting to end the week with a recollection of those moments. Herewith, my Friday five.


I. The Inimitable Life of Stephen Hawking

This obituary of Stephen Hawking in the New York Times is soaring and beautiful, just like it’s subject. I read it end to end at 3 am and it captivated me more than any obituary has. What a tremendous man Stephen Hawking was. I feel fortunate to have shared this earth with his brilliance.

An excerpt below, recounting Hawking’s fearlessness – both physically and mentally.

“Asked why he took such risks, Dr. Hawking said, “I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.”

His own spirit left many in awe.

“What a triumph his life has been,” said Martin Rees, a Cambridge University cosmologist, the astronomer royal of England and Dr. Hawking’s longtime colleague. “His name will live in the annals of science; millions have had their cosmic horizons widened by his best-selling books; and even more, around the world, have been inspired by a unique example of achievement against all the odds — a manifestation of amazing willpower and determination.”


II. The Students of #Enough

Students participate in a march in support of the National School Walkout in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

I was running errands in downtown Brooklyn Wednesday when I ran into a massive walkout of Brooklyn high school students that stretched a 2 block length of Fulton Street and its width in entirety. “Guns in school? We say No! NRA has Got to Go”, they chanted, marching with determination and purpose. They brought the street to a halt, and in that moment put all of us adults- going about our lives, heads down- to shame. The New York Times summarized their actions thus:

“A month ago, hundreds of teenagers ran for their lives from the hallways and classrooms of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and staff had been shot to death.

On Wednesday, driven by the conviction that they should never have to run from guns again, they walked.

So did their peers. In New York City, in Chicago, in Atlanta and Santa Monica; at Columbine High School and in Newtown, Conn.; and in many more cities and towns, students left school by the hundreds and the thousands at 10 a.m., sometimes in defiance of school authorities, who seemed divided and even flummoxed about how to handle their emptying classrooms.”

Watching this movement take shape has been an incredible reminder of the power of our youth and their ability to effectively organize. They are eloquent defenders of their right to learn in peace, and have exhibited immense courage. They remind us that it is never too late to channel the idealism and energy of our youth, and speak truth to power when it is sorely needed. What a beautiful generation that has arisen out of the ashes of millennial life. If you’d like to support efforts to end gun violence, you may donate to here.


III. Baby Smiles

Onward to more personal sources of awe. And I apologize in advance if you thought, rightfully, that perhaps I’d steer clear of child related topics after my magnum opus on parenthood last week. (Speaking of which, thank you so much for your beautiful words and responses to that post. They warmed my heart immensely).

* Note: the above is not a picture of MY baby. It is just A baby, and an exceptionally adorable one at that.

Somewhere between their first 6 and 12 weeks of life, babies start to smile in earnest (versus a reflux smile that everyone was very quick to point out WASN’T REAL). Via Parents: “Your baby’s first real smile says a lot about his development. It’s a sign his vision has improved and he is able to recognize your face. His brain and nervous system have matured enough to eliminate reflex smiles, and he’s now aware that smiling is a way for him to connect with others. Your little one is also beginning to realize his feelings matter and have a direct effect on the people around him. He’ll smile to express pleasure, excitement, contentment, and happiness.”

Our child started smiling these last few weeks, and it has been my absolute favorite development. It is so sweet and wondrous to see your child’s first smile, and every time she does it is a surprise and a delight! My favorite development of the last week for sure.


IV. The Best Banana Bread

On cold winter days, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I love to cook, the room happens to get exceptional sunlight, and since I’m on leave, I find joy in serving up exceptionally delicious meals for the whole household. Not to mention, the beauty of providing sustenance for the baby has been that I literally get to eat whatever on earth that I want and the calories magically get transferred to her.

It’s beautiful. God is a woman after all. I always had a sneaking suspicion.

Anyway, this recipe for Banana Bread (with the additional of copious chocolate and peanut butter chips) has been on constant rotation in our home.  It takes just minutes to conjure, and having a loaf ever present on the kitchen counter says home like nothing else can. Try it. You’ll see.



Do you guys watch Love, on Netflix? It’s such a delightfully funny show. The acting, story lines, characters, and settings are all so wonderful. I won’t ruin it with my amateur review (“it’s about a couple? In LA? and their friends?), but it’s the greatest. I look forward to my husband getting home all day- not because I love him or anything, but because we get to watch Love (JUST KIDDING BABE). That’s how into it I am. Watch it and let me know what you think. It’s a perfect activity for the 500th winter weekend of this season.

Wishing you all a wonderful and uplifting weekend!


Miss Sheiky


new life (who dis)

This time my extended absence is wholly justified… You see, at the end of January, my husband and I brought a new baby girl into the world. The last 6 weeks have been both a massive blur and the first time in my life, since childhood, where I have truly lived every moment.

Having a baby is incredible. I’m not sure I heard that much from people going in, quite the contrary actually. More than anything, we were given multiple warnings about how our lives would change: we’d never be able to go out again, we would lose our sense of spontaneity, I might all of a sudden be obese (this was a very real fear), we might never sleep again, I might come down with depression, my husband and I might divorce, in short- life with a baby was made out to be pretty terrible. On account of that, I spent the final weeks leading up to her arrival in a state of mild panic. One night, I cried, convinced that I might not have a motherly instinct after all, and what if I didn’t love her like she deserved to be loved? I wasn’t cut out for this- no, no, take me back please.

Then one Monday in January at 6 am we made our way to Mount Sinai for her scheduled delivery. I cried through multiple attempts to get the IV in, I cried when I had to leave my husband and make my way into the OR alone for what amounted to a 15 minute separation from him, I shook in terror on the surgical table wondering what on earth would happen. And then, between the talk of planned vacations and light hearted medical directives, they called the time, “8:40 a.m.” and I knew she had been born. And then I heard her cry. And it was the most unbelievable, utterly magical, insane moment of my entire life. The carried her past me and I thought surely I had gone to heaven- her perfect complexion, framed with a full head of dark brown fluff, her piercing blue eyes, her tiny little frame. My husband was beside himself. For the umpteenth time that morning, I erupted in tears.

It is difficult to describe how the experience has been, but I will try. People say it is a love that you didn’t know you had, and that is 100% accurate. It is an addictive type of love, a heretofore unattainable high. When they put her little body on my chest in the recovery room, I was beside myself. She was in there, this whole time? This angel’s spirit made tangible in the flesh. I guess I knew that there had been a physical being in there- there were kicks and turns that I felt, and sometimes saw, occur. But it was wholly impossible to link those movements to this little being in reality- it all felt like an illusion. It is an active type of love, one that impels you to do things you never believed possible- including yes, rising out of bed at ungodly hours to attend to her. But it is also one that forces, in that instant, a new hierarchy of the important things in life- one that places her so far above anything else that I previously cared about so as to render the rest near obsolete. We had only been in the hospital for a day or so before I was asking my husband if he was keen on having another.

I don’t know where the days go. We are fortunate enough to have full time help; and yet, I can’t tear myself away from her. She is the most poignant reminder of the fleeting nature of time; I see it in every ounce she gains and every changing facial expression she makes. And suddenly, tearing away for this dinner or that somewhere seems like an utter waste of time. I know I will feel differently as time goes on, and that this is largely the effect of some evolutionary instinct that would impel even the most scatter brained human to take care of her offspring- but nonetheless- I have wholly welcomed the change of pace. For someone who always had to have a full calendar- a trip always on the horizon and some perfect hotel chosen to stay in in that picture perfect locale, it is a wonder of the largest order that some of my greatest joys can be found in the most mundane moments at home.

I’d be remiss not to mention what it means to create one’s own family. Again, this is surely nothing new to anyone who has had children before- but it was and is a revelation to me. When I married M, I knew of course that he would be the father of my children. But I didn’t know how tremendously he would rise to the occasion. I have found in this experience a new well of love for him too, that I didn’t know had been there. The long and short of it is that over the course of a marriage you are able to see so many different sides of a person, and this one of M’s has been so defining of the strength of his character. It’s brought me so much joy. Now, more than ever, I realize how grateful I am to have found him. And how lucky our daughter is too- to have a father like I have in mine.

In some ways, having finally experienced all of this- I find myself wishing I had known it all sooner. If only I’d known how much I’d enjoy marriage, and parenthood, perhaps I would have embarked on it sooner. Or perhaps, it was the prolonged and exciting (sometimes tortuous) journey there that has made the destination all the sweeter. How is one to know why life unfolds the way it does. What I do feel now is that I have tapped into my reason for existence in a very real way. I was telling a good friend the other day that motherhood is one of the rare roles in my life that rewards tenderness. My desire to achieve career wise had made made me such a hardened person, and I hadn’t even realized that until I took an extended absence from the daily battle. That lesson has been eye opening- how can I go back, knowing what I know now of the person I actually am, and reconcile it with the person I was? Luckily, I won’t have that decision forced on me for yet a while. But it has been on my mind all the same.

Until then, I plan to return here more often, having thus emerged from the 6 week fog. Hello world. Is it me you’re looking for?

Ever yours,

Miss Sheiky




Movies of the Moment: I Tonya

I Tonya

Rounding out films that are still out in theatres, I’d be extremely remiss not to comment on I, Tonya. For those of you living under a boulder (I kid), I, Tonya recounts the story of Tonya Harding, at one time one of the best figure skaters in the world ( to note: the first American woman to land the notoriously difficult triple axel jump), who weathered unimaginable scandal on account of the 1994 attack on her teammate Nancy Kerrigan. I remember this story so vividly from my childhood- growing up in the midwest, the Winter Olympics were a huge event for us and my family and I watched the figure skating championships near religiously. When this story line unfolded we, like the rest of America, were enraptured in it. And yet, there were so many details of the story that I was too young to absorb, or too naive to realize that I had internalized as fact. In this respect, I, Tonya serves as a redemption tale for someone who became, during my childhood, a caricature of the evil villain writ large.

And yet, I, Tonya isn’t a tale of redemption at all. It is, at its core, a really excruciating account of a life of poverty of violence- first of the parental variety, then the marital variety- and finally of the societal variety. And I found the consistent and raw abuse almost too much to handle. There was no tempering of her suffering when she grew up, moved out of her home, or left her husband. Rather, she is consistently and brutally punished every step of the way despite her boundless work ethic and pursuit of something better. Given that, I found it really hard to reconcile this movie as a comedy (despite it’s comedic elements- brought to the fore by an incredible cast of characters as they adopt their respective characters with undeniable gusto). Pictured below, Allison Janney in the role she was born to play, as Tony Hardings abusive mother.


Despite finding the violence near unbearable, the movie is extremely well done – and my husband and friends absolutely loved it. It has taken distance from some of the more difficult scenes for me to embrace just how genius this movie is but all the same, I’ve come around. And like Lady Bird below, it is another example of a film that plays exquisitely to the 90’s/2000s nostalgia that is swallowing pop culture whole at the moment (perhaps a testament to the fact that we would all rather escape to the scandals of our childhoods then live the scandals of the moment, which feel too heavy to bear). Margot Robbie as Tonya, Allison Janney as LaVona Harding, Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, and Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn are all absolutely exceptional in their respective roles.

It’s worth noting that watching this movie prompted me to also watch the  2 hour ABC special: Truth and Lies, the Tonya Harding Story last week and it was insane to learn how accurate the events of the movie are. I recommend watching the special as well if you can’t get enough of early 90’s figure skaters, because honestly, who can? Not I.

I Tonya- Violent, insane, well-executed, funny, and tragic. A little like the woman herself.




Movies of the Moment- Lady Bird

In the next installment of our film series is the exquisite coming of age story, Lady Bird. Written and directed by the brilliant Greta Gerwig, (who also wrote Frances Ha- one of my favorite independent movies of recent years) Lady Bird tells the story of a young woman in Sacramento dealing with trials of family, relationships and friendships during her final year of high school. The film takes place in 2002/2003, and the walk down early 2000s memory lane is but one of many wonderfully enjoyable things about this film.

Lady Bird, is, at its core, a movie about relationships. In the male-female relationship category, we are treated to a range of beautifully accurate snapshots of Lady Bird with the men in her life, whether the tender relationship between father and daughter, the fraught relationship of sister and brother, or the tortured relationships she has with her two boyfriends in the film (played exquisitely by Lucas Hedges and Timothy Chalamet). Pictured below, “nice” boyfriend Danny O’Neill with Lady Bird in one of my favorite scenes from the film.

But where the movie really shines is in the accuracy of the female relationships that it portrays- whether between Lady Bird and her best friend (the utterly delightful Beanie Feldstein, pictured below), or with her difficult mother, played to an absolute T by Laurie Metcalf. You can always tell the difference between a female and a male writer via the complexity and beauty of the female relationships, and this is where Gerwig really shines. Lady Bird is alternately cruel and imminently supportive of her best friend, and theirs is the love upon which the movie is built. It’s a great testament to female friendships, which don’t always get their due in film.

Her relationship with her mother, on the other hand, brought back memories of every squabble I ever had with my own mother as a teenager, as filtered through an even starker lens. As I stare down the impending birth of my own daughter, I’ve given a lot of thought to how I can nurture that relationship and correct for those inevitable differences of opinion. The excruciating part about watching Lady Bird and her mother’s relationship play out, from the vantage point of being both no longer a teenager and not yet a middle aged adult, is that one is left feeling tortured for both of them. And that is why Gerwig again is so brilliant- her characters are multi dimensional- at once cruel and selfish and at other turns nurturing and sympathetic.

All in, I couldn’t recommend Lady Bird highly enough. And in case you are wondering, my husband loved it just as much. It is a wonderfully written and directed film that does a remarkable job of conveying the teenage experience in a way that is delicate and humorous. I hope that she wins all of the awards for this one- and it goes without saying that I can’t wait to see what Gerwig does next.


Movies of the Moment – The Post

We’ve been trying to watch as many movies as possible lately, mainly because other parents feel it necessary to frequently and relentlessly fearmonger us with comments like “You’ll never be able to watch a movie again.” Any excuse to plant ourselves in front of a screen in the name of living our best lives is A-OK with us, and I have to say we’ve caught some stellar films so far on account of it. Virtually every movie out right now is best in class due to it being award season, but I wanted to recount a few this week that we’ve particularly enjoyed, kicking off with Steven Spielberg’s The Post.


The Post

Directed by Steven Spielberg, and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. I could probably end the review right there and that would be enough to impel you to see the film. But this is an important movie to watch in this moment of history, so a little more detail is due.

First, a brief history lesson. The story of the Post is the story of the Pentagon Papers, officially titled “United States- Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense.” The papers, in essence, detailed scathing truths about the U.S.’ involvement in Vietnam. One, that the Johnson Administration “systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress.” And two, that the U.S. had secretly enlarged the scope of its actions in the Vietnam War with the bombings of Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, none of which were reported in the mainstream media. The papers were released by Daniel Ellsberg, who had worked on the study, and were first brought to light by the New York Times , for which the NYT was served an injunction by the U.S. attorney general. For his disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg was initially charged with conspiracy, espionage, and theft of government property, but the charges were later dismissed after prosecutors investigating the Watergate Scandal discovered that the staff members in the Nixon White House had ordered the so-called White House Plumbers to engage in unlawful efforts to discredit Ellsberg. The Post is about the moment that the Washington Post enters  the fray on the heels of the NYT, to publish the remaining papers, exposing a massive cover up of government secrets regarding the US’ involvement in Vietnam that spans 3 decades and 4 U.S. Presidents.

These themes- of thankless wars entered into on lies, of presidential administrations lying to and denigrating the mainstream media, of leakers willing to face imprisonment to share the truth with the public, then outed as traitors; and the importance of a free press- are top of mind for anyone who has lived through the Iraq War as well as the first year of the Trump administration. And it is toward the latter, in so many ways, that this film is a direct and unapologetic response. While the film regrettably trades in some of the more poignant historical lessons regarding U.S. involvement in Vietnam for high drama, it’s focus on the necessity of a free and respected press for the perpetuation of democracy is a huge one. For the magnitude of that lesson alone, I suspect it will win plenty of awards.

But there are also a number of moments and details that more subtly appeal to the senses. For one, Katherine Graham (played by the glorious Meryl Streep) plays the first female publisher of a major American Newspaper. Anyone who has ever been the only woman in a room full of men can identify with the shot of her entering a room full of bankers at a meeting during which they will set the IPO price for the Washington Post. In it, Streep is surrounded by a swarm of men in dark suits, and while they tangentially acknowledge her presence (despite her ostensibly being the most important person in the room), the scene only reinforces how invisible and insignificant they deem her to be. I wanted so badly for her to bust their chops as only a woman can, but I was reminded only of the times and how many women like her had to fight to get one word in edgewise, so that I could get in 100. It was a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come.

The story of the Post, then, is also one about a woman finding her voice, and blazing a heretofore uncharted trail. It is Graham who has the final word on whether to publish, and despite the risk to her career, company, and family’s inheritance, she makes the honorable choice.

On a visual level, it is also rich with gorgeous details showcasing the Georgetown homes of the 1970s Washington elite, and the incredible wardrobes of their inhabitants. My absolute favorite scene on this front is the one below, wherein Graham dons a glorious caftan while hosting a party in the garden of her Georgetown home. Just LOOK at that caftan and that hair. She is everything I have ever wanted to be. The intricate wood panelling in her study and the abundance of classic furniture only add to the sumptuousness of the sets.


Overall the Post does a tremendous job balancing beautiful period details and high drama with critical themes for the moment. More than anything, it serves a sobering warning that despite our perceived societal progress (and the passing of some 50 years), we currently face staggeringly similar threats to the freedom of our press and society at large. It is a warning that we should be keen to heed and address head on, if we are indeed to survive.



Scents & Sensibility

She sidled up next to me, trying on a harmless but inquisitive tone. “Did you just meet with the president of the company?” she asked.

I was taken aback; I had, in fact, just met with him, in my typical style- to share my observations about what was going wrong, as I saw it. Also in my typical style, I hadn’t shared this information with anyone.

“I did…,” I hesitated, then smiled. “How did you know?”

“Your PERFUME!” she beamed, having solved the case. “I walked into my meeting with him and immediately asked if he’d met with you. I could still smell your amazing perfume in his office!”

Stealth, I was not. Perhaps signature scents don’t mix well with going incognito. But my pride at her flattery superseded any concern about my meeting’s intention being known.


I come by my obsession with fragrance honestly – it’s in my blood. The National reports: “Throughout history, Arabs have used fragrance as a form of art, a symbol of reverence, and a token of beauty. In the 13th century the Sufi Arab mystic, Ibn Arabi, wrote in his masterpiece, Pearls of Wisdom, ‘of all the worldly goods, three things are dearest to my heart: perfume, women and prayer.”

The Arab world was instrumental to the evolution of the fragrance industry as we know it. It was Arab perfumers who developed the traditions and techniques that laid the foundation for the industry today. And one must only look so far as wardrobe to understand why this is; in a region where modest dressing is de riguer (and many in the gulf region wear abayas or dishdashes), the face and the scent become the focus. In fact, Emiratis- along with their Persian Gulf neighbors in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman, are the biggest spenders per capita on luxury perfume in the world- buying as much as 3 times as much perfume as their Western counterparts. As for my own country of origin, Syria, it was the birthplace of the Damask rose (the name refers to Damascus, Syria, where the flower is said to have originated).

All of which is to say that my affinity for fragrance runs deep, and my collection is a reflection of the places I’ve been and the memories I’ve made in them, At one point, another former colleague and I almost started a boutique perfumerie business here in NYC. While we never pursued that particular passion (aedes de Venustas and MiN New York have a great collection if you share our affinity), I wanted to share a smaller selection of my favorites with you today. Herewith, my Top Five.

Acqua di parma: Blu Mediterraneo – Mirto di Panarea

My husband says of all the perfumes I wear, this is his favorite, as it reminds him of our early days. Because of this, I made the decision to wear it on our wedding day, a sweet throwback to those times.

I first bought this scent years ago at the Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and have since repurchased it a number of times.This perfume is a sea breeze, combining aromatic notes of myrtle and basil with lemon and bergamot, a hint of jasmine and rose, and a base of juniper, cedar wood and amber. It is fresh and evocative; a perfect summer scent, although I often wear it year round. This whole line is delicious- traditional, crisp, and beautiful.


Sospiro Collection: Allegro

The only word for this perfume is intoxicating. I discovered and purchased it in Dubai as it was originally released exclusively for the Middle East market by Xerjoff, and is only recently getting wider distribution.  The experience of wearing this scent begins with holding its bottle, a smooth velvet that is luxurious to the touch, but it is the scent inside that I am over the moon for. The scent opens with grapefruit and a light application of pink pepper, then gives way to a soft duet of lavendar and rose. Where the quality of this perfume comes through, though, is in the 3rd layer of fragrance, comprised of sandalwood, cashmere and a tiny bit of oud, an effect that perfume reviewers call “a woody fantasia.”

This fragrance is a definite splurge but I love to wear it for a special dinner or evening. It’s absolutely gorgeous and its depth is unsurpassed. Legend status.


Penhaligons:  Vaara

I also discovered this one in Dubai although Penhaligon’s is much more readily available in the US. I must have spent a full day at the Dubai Mall smelling every perfume, and came away with some definite winners. This one is also a departure for me as it is sweeter than most of my favorites, but it is so unique that I couldn’t leave it behind. Vaara is inspired by the Royal House of Marwar-Jodphur in Rajasthan, and started life as the passion of His Highness Gaj Singh II who wanted to reflect his family’s deep love and connection with Jodhpur. Later, perfumer Bertand Duchaufour’s journey to Jodhpur provided him with an abundance of inspiration for the fragrance and the end result, Vaara, was born. The perfume has head notes of quince, rosewater, carrot seed, and saffron, heart notes of moroccan rose, Bulgarian Rose, Freesia, Indian Magnolia, Peony and Iris, and base notes of honey, white musk, cedarwood, sandalwood, benzoin resin (<– note that I have no idea what this is) and tonka bean. Due to its sweetness, I think this scent is a great spring/fall choice (I generally save the heavy ouds for winter, and the crisp citruses for summer).


Jo Malone: Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne

This is the perfume that lurks in conference rooms and on shirt collars alike, so wield its power wisely. I bought this at the Jo Malone store on Bleecker street, near our old apartment. This is a gorgeous mix of dark damask rose, wrapped in smoky oud wood, then spiked with clove and decadent praline. Rich, textural and magnetic; and even my most masculine man friends have been known to spritz it on and comment on how incredibly it smells. On second thought, this might actually be a cologne, but I don’t subscribe to labels and nor should you.


Carthusia I Profumi di Capri: Mediterraneo

My mother is allergic to most perfumes and Carthusia is the only exception due to how natural it is; after she and my father returned from Capri they couldn’t stop raving about this boutique. Later, when we were in Capri on our honeymoon, we stopped by and I fell head over heels for Mediterraneo. It smelled like August in paradise, and I needed to bring back a piece of it with me so that I could always remember it. Based on an old recipe used at the Monastery of St. Giacomo, and reconfigured for Carthusia, it is bright and exuberant- an instant classic. The scent starts with tart, juicy lemons (which are in cartoonish abundance on the Amalfi coast), then journeys into crushed green tea leaves, lemon verbena, and a hint of lime peels. There are also vague hints of other fruits and florals and a distinctly, every so slightly soapy scent which is complete perfection on a summer day. Carthusia also makes intoxicating home fragrances and incense, which were placed in abundance throughout the Hotel Ceasar Augustus where we stayed. They are all divine.


And there you have it, a trip around the world, from Chicago to New York, Capri to Dubai, and throughout the seasons of the year and the illusions of time. Which fragrances spark your memory and moods?


Miss Sheiky





I’m Back!

Well hello there!

I am back after an embarrassingly long “hiatus” that was really not a hiatus at all but 6+ months in the trenches of LIFE on the most intense level!  But I am so thrilled to be back at Maison Sheik with some very exciting life news and a recap on what I have been up to!



Image via Ace Interior Design

When we last connected, I was just beginning my studies at Parson’s, and have since completed a number of in depth projects, including a complete redesign of the Parson’s Lobby into a restaurant and cafe space, a bedroom for a 10 year old girl with a passion for math, and my personal favorite, a Louis XV inspired pool house in Miami! I can’t wait to show you some of the work that I put together on these! I can’t tell you how much my technical expertise or vision have improved, and I am so excited to embark on this journey further this year. It has been the most rewarding and fulfilling discovery of my life so far! Speaking of decorating:


We Moved to Brooklyn!

After 10 years in Greenwich Village (yes, a full decade!) we made the move to Boerum Hill. It’s been incredible. We sleep with the windows open when it’s warm, and we see trees from every window of our (much more expansive) place. We have a working fireplace and 2 floors and basically, to a New Yorker, that sounds like fiction, but it’s true. We absolutely adore it here. I can’t wait to share pictures as we continue to finish decorating!



After probably the most intense year of grinding it out, bending over backward like I was a gymnast in cirque du soleil, and what amounted to a full fledged political campaign (the trifecta according to tech) I earned a very hard fought for promotion at work in November. So now I can breathe again. It feels good. Especially because I worked intensely through some of the sickest and hardest months of my life when i should have probably been staying home nursing a gatorade, which leads to my next piece of news.



My husband and I are expecting a baby girl in 2 weeks you guys! (Also, is there anything better than fat baby feet? I couldn’t resist the image above) Anyway, we can’t really believe it either. Going through this experience has made me realize just how miraculous the perpetuation of life is on this planet. We cannot wait to meet her and see her face. But first, a little recap of how the pregnancy has gone so far….

Memorial Day weekend, our friends Hilary and Allen invited us up to their family friend’s place, a summer camp in the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont. We decided to drive up the Thursday prior to the weekend’s kickoff so as to avoid the traffic leaving New York City. An idea which was, of course, shared by approximately 8 MM other people. Anticipating that this was the case, we picked up cold cut sandwiches at the Bedford Cheese shop on Irving place before hitting the road. I didn’t make it past Westchester before my vision turned blurry and I broke into a cold sweat. In other words, I became rapidly and deathly ill. And so we made a detour at a particularly lovely gas station in Larchmont as I proceeded to get more and more ill. Our husbands deliberated outside as to whether my husband and I should uber it back to the city and call it a day. Meanwhile, Hilary cornered me outside the bathroom.

“Dude, do you think maybe you’re pregnant?”

“Absolutely not,” I replied. After “trying” for 3 months, we had lost steam and decided to enjoy our lives instead (our resilience knows no bounds). Which amounted to us living it up, going out, sleeping little and generally having a ball for the month preceding. In other words, there was no way my body was a hospitable temple for anything other than late night falafel.

An hour later we were back on the road and I promptly fell asleep in my husband’s lap, and 5 hours after that we arrived at a freezing and rainy summer camp. The rest of the weekend brought sunshine, boat rides, feasts overlooking the lake, plenty of raw cheese and other indulgences, and an overall marvelous time. But when we returned to the city, Hilary’s words returned to me, and so I decided to take a test and just put the issue to rest.

Reader, it was positive.

From there started 18 weeks of the most brutal illness I have ever encountered. Every day was a fight to survive. But I did. And after that, I felt amazing. And inexplicably, she continued to grow.

And here we are, in the final stretch, excited, terrified, but ready to dislodge this baby from my rib cage ;-). I started my leave from work December 22nd, and after hosting my in laws for Christmas and getting a number of things in order home wise, I am rededicating myself to my loves, one of which is this beautiful blog.

So, those are the broad strokes, with A LOT to share in between.  Needless to say, I am thrilled to be back and sharing this journey with all of you! Thank you for reading!


Miss Sheiky


Felice Varini

St. Francis of Assisi stated that the “happiness of our lives depends upon the quality of our thoughts,” implying that our perspective on the world, and our experience of it, are one in the same.  No one translates this concept more compellingly than artist Felice Varini, the master illusionist whose large-scale projections super-imposed onto architectural spaces similarly force us to question the role of perspective in how we view the world. Viewed from one specific vantage point, his installations are precise, geometric forms that seemingly hover in front of the structure that they are painted onto; viewed from others they take on the appearance of complete randomness- shattered lines or panes of glass. To view a Varini piece in person is, I imagine, to waver between confusion and complete awe.

   L to R (Arche e Corone, Grand Palais, Arche e Corone)

His technique is anamorphosis, which is defined by a distorted projection or drawing that appears normal when viewed from a particular point or lens. But finding that ideal vantage point is not in itself Varini’s objective for the viewer. Notes the artist, “The viewer can be present in the work, but as far as I am concerned he may go through it without noticing the painting at all. If he is aware of the work, he might observe it from the vantage point and see the complete shape. But he might look from other points of views where he will not be able to understand the painting because the shapes will be fragmented and the work too abstract. Whichever way, that is ok with me.”

Eglises des Jesuites

That said, viewers who are willing to work to find that lens develop a greater intimacy with the allocated space than they would have if they were just passing through. And what Varini’s work accomplishes is the feat of forcing the viewer to slow down, question their surroundings, and experience their surroundings. In a city like New York, it is these spaces that take on such a special role in the public sphere.


Eglises des Jesuites

This is why Varini is such a compelling artist to channel for an interior space. The duality of his work is what makes it striking: simple shapes against ornate architectural detail; primary colors projected against neutrals; crisp paint relative to crumbling infrastructure; immense scale versus the precise vantage point at which the picture comes together. All of this should be reflected in a space that truly embodies his art.


In this, we join the ranks of numerous cities who recognize the wonder of his approach and commission him to rejuvenate public spaces and historic monuments. With washable paint he has wrought an indelible mark on many antiquities, painting the walls of Versailles, 12th century abbeys in western France, 15th century Augustinian monasteries in Monte Carasso, and alleyways in New Haven alike.  Interpreting his references, we will create a space that forces New Yorkers to consider the world around them in a new way.


(L to R: 56, Avenue du President Wilson, New Haven Alleyway, Grand Palais, Trois Triangle Orange.

In a city where old is frequently torn down to make way for new, super imposing the modern on top of the crumbling is a novel and welcome concept indeed.


Sept Couronnes Excentriques, Felice Varini, Le Chateua d’Olonne, France, 2006


Parson’s School of Design- Part I

Yesterday was my first day of class at Parson’s School of Design, and I’m kicking off my coursework with Interior Space Planning. I thought it might be fun to take you all along for the journey from concept to virtual execution, and take you into the approach of a (budding) designer!

As a first assignment, we were asked to research and review the work of a contemporary artist, and choose one to be both the inspiration for and client of our space. We were given the following list of artists to choose from. Talk about an impossible choice! See below for sampling of their work. Can you guess which one I chose before I reveal my first assignment? Which would you choose as your inspiration?


Maya LIn


Anish Kapoor



Yayoi Kusama

Jesus Soto

Ann Hamilton

Richard Serra

Michael Heizer

Ai Wei Wei

Kara Walker

Jenny Holzer

James Turrell

Felice varini

Olafur Elliason