This weekend I had the chance to do one of my favorite things: styling a tablescape for Shell & Pine using all vintage finds with my Mom. If only someone would take pity on us and give us a big light-filled studio with endless shelves so we could spend all our time playing with pretty things.
These pink plates, pink glassware & black and gold Culver Glass lowballs were all part of today’s drop-off at Flea Style. I am already regretting letting those perfect peachy pink Japanese stoneware dishes go. The perfect set of 8 dinner & salad plates, so perfect for a holiday get together.
Pink is most definitely a neutral for me & I wanted to show how it can be transitioned from it’s usual hot weather connotations to a more autumnal, holiday look. Mix it with browns and brass and it can be an elegant color for a casual holiday table.
I don’t claim to be an expert traveler of New Mexico – or even a well-informed one. But I know where I’ve been and what I like, and I’ve gathered together so many great suggestions that I feel like it would be silly of me not to share them all! I have a very specific theme for my New Mexico travels – very Southwestern, lots of vintage, a heaping dash of artisan jewelry and lots & lots of green chile. If this sounds like your jam, then read on.
My dad’s family has been traveling to Red River in the summer since the 1960s, staying in the same old fishing cabin resort on the banks of the river a little ways outside of town. While there we do a lot of outdoor activities but we also shop, eat and take day trips. These recommendations will cover parts of the Enchanted Circle (specifically the Red River & Taos Valley area) and some of the great things we were able to do this year on our quick three day stop in Santa Fe. We stayed at Las Palomas in Santa Fe & I can’t recommend it enough. Gorgeous property, excellent walkable location, kid friendly & a great breakfast.
The peace symbol denotes places I have been to and can answer questions on. The others are recommendations given to me that we didn’t make it to, but that I trust the source!
It’s the first thing I do when I know we’re traveling somewhere – I map out the vintage & thrift stores. Even if we’re only there for a few days, I can usually escape for an hour or two to do some picking. James understands and often tags along, dragging Cece with him into the toys or books or outdoor stuff as I dig. Our trip to Santa Fe was no different, and I was able to do some quick picking and shopping for myself. No markets or estate sales for me this time, though I would love to do a proper buying trip sometime in the future.
Beautifully curated shop full of vintage western and work wear. Lots of indigo, Santo Domingo beads, chainstitched shirts, denim, bandanas. There is a by-appointment studio warehouse as well, but we didn’t make it this trip.
Sprawling consignment shop stuffed full of authentic vintage western-wear, piles of Old Pawn, designer vintage, home goods, etc. It’s a feast! Prices are higher consignment, but they have beautiful things. Bought myself an epic pair of 1960s cowboy boots.
Another fantastically curated vintage shop of high-end Southwestern vintage.
1024 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos, NM
My favorite place to shop in Taos, a huge consignment shop with the most incredible furniture and homewares section, lots of clothing and walls and walls of art. Prices can be on the high end, but the longer things are there the more of a discount. I’ve found some treasures over the years.
Habitat for Humanity Restore
504 Salazar Rd, Taos, NM
Dirty, dusty and just plain fun.
There is a lot of incredible jewelry in New Mexico – a lot. And much of it is outside of my budget for such things, especially if it’s coveted Old Pawn with beautiful old mine turquoise. But boy, is it fun to look. There are numerous reputable jewelry shops in both Santa Fe and Taos with incredible selection – I’m not an expert on Native American artisan jewelry, but I know what I like – and I know what I can afford. Over the years I have found a handful of shops that I know I can trust the provenance of the pieces (there are a lot of fake Native jewelry pieces out there) and the fairness of their prices. These are the only ones I am sharing with you because they are the only ones I have purchased larger ticket items from.
A gorgeous, high-end jewelry shop right on the historic Taos Plaza. One of the things that I love about this shop is that they have a large selection of current Native American jewelers from across the region, as well as a large selection of local New Mexican jewelers who work in a more modern, contemporary style. The two mix beautifully together and the staff is knowledgeable and able to share artist names and provenance right away. They also have a really nice selection of Old Pawn and vintage Native American pieces. I feel like their prices are incredible fair – I have bought three pieces from them over the years and have been comfortable with the prices each time.
515 E Main St, Red River, NM
Oh man. I love this shop. Tucked away up in Red River, it’s worth a day trip for this place alone. A sweet little A-frame building on the main street in town, it is stuffed full of gorgeous Native American made jewelry. The married couple who run the shop are the sweetest and so incredibly knowledgeable about each piece. They source their jewelry from artisans across the region and also have an excellent vintage & Old Pawn selection. Their prices are so incredibly fair and there is something for absolutely every price point. From the high-end Old Pawn squash blossoms to the woven baskets full of $12 sterling earrings made by Navajo makers, they have it all. They also have a really nice selection of Native American pottery and decorative goods. Love this place!
This is a new one for me, but I had so much fun shopping here this year! It’s actually inside the large Frye’s Old Town tourist goods shop, the “one with the gunfights” where they stage fake gunfights for the kids. It’s a cute shop but not really my style, so I had never really paid attention to it – big mistake! There are multiple cases of beautiful estate & artisan Native American jewelry in all price points throughout the store. The earrings I bought had great provenance from a local estate and it was fun chatting with the sales girls who are all very knowledgable about the jewelry.
124 Bent St, Taos, NM
One of my favorite shops in Taos, located in the adorable John Dunn Shops – a pedestrian only walkway among the historic adobe buildings tucked away behind the historic Taos Plaza. Stuffed full of incredible textiles from around the world, it’s a fabric lovers dream. Stacks of African mudcloth, bolts and bolts of authentic handwoven serape in a rainbow of colors, handspun felted wool hangings, beautiful block printed tablecloths…so many beauties. I buy a handful of hand-dyed silk ribbon every year for the reworked vintage cowboy hats I make for Shell & Pine.
Several years ago my aunt & cousin introduced me to the work of Stephen Kilborn and I immediately fell in love with his playful style. Now I buy one of his pieces every year and look forward to his new work. Up until this past fall he had a shop near the John Dunn Shops, but he now works and sells out of his beautiful sunny studio in Pilar, 20 minutes south of Taos. We didn’t have time to explore Pilar this year and just drove in to his studio and out, but I have heard it is full of other artist studios and is a fun place to shop.
With a four year old in tow, we are a bit limited on what attractions we can view – but I have had the chance to see and experience some wonderful things in New Mexico over the years. There are beautiful museums and incredible outdoor spaces to explore. This list barely scratches the surface!
Like I said, I’m no expert! But I hope this list helps you map our your own way through these amazing places if, like me, you’re on the hunt for some good shopping, fun & eating. And please, if you have places you love that aren’t on the list, comment!! We go every year and every year I try to add something new.
This blog entry first appeared on the blog for my business Shell & Pine — I’ve since decided that writing like this will now live here, on my personal blog.
In 1938 the Kennedy’s arrived in London like a bolt from the blue – this crowd of wholesome Americans, pushing their way into the rarified atmosphere of the cousinhood. Patriarch Joe Kennedy was the new US Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s and he arrived on the job with his wife and nine children in tow. The British aristocracy had never seen anything like the Kennedy’s – loud and fond of political debate, gregarious and full of laughter, so earnest and American and Catholic. Few could have predicted that their tenure in England would be witness to the end of a way of life for the British aristocracy and would also be the catalyst for the tragic end for the “favorite Kennedy daughter.”
Kathleen Kennedy, universally known as Kick, wasn’t the eldest daughter – that was Rosemary, but it was generally agreed that Rosemary wasn’t up to the social obligations expected of an adult daughter of the Ambassador. Kick was 18 in 1938 – funny, laughing, charming and ready to jump feet first into the whirl of parties, dances and balls that was the London Season. She immediately began to charm her way into the groups of young aristocrats that the social scene centered upon – her open nature and frank way of speaking standing in sharp contrast to the reserved and often painfully shy British girls of that social strata. Unlike her English and Scottish peers, who were usually kept home at their family country seats until being thrown headlong into the marriage market of the Season, Kick had been raised in a swirl of her father’s political and film-world partners, her older brother’s school friends and her own experiences of convent schooling both in America and Europe. She came from a family which encouraged lively debate, from a father who instructed his children to question him and to argue their points with passion.
Kick’s first Season in London was also the last year before Europe devolved into massive war. The Third Reich was causing tremors throughout the region and Britain was balanced on a precipice. The atmosphere was tense and worried, with many people later describing feeling as if their entire world was about to come to a screeching halt. The usual round of parties increased to a frenetic pace as the young British aristocrats partied as if it might be their last chance. Kick stepped into this world with a sense of confidence and vitality that endeared her to all who met her. She would be described by contemporaries as so kind and funny that no one could dislike her.
As was the custom, Kick and her sister Rosemary were ‘presented’ at Court with the crowd of debutantes at the pinnacle of the London Season. Photographed with their mother in their white gowns and feathered headdresses, the girls look angelic and ecstatic. It was at this presentation that Kick would meet Deborah “Debo” Mitford, who would become a good friend and her eventual sister-in-law. She also met Jean Ogilvy, the daughter of a Scottish peer. Both girls would prove to be lifelong friends for Kick and would eventually become invaluable sources for those interested in her life.
Kick was taken under the wing of her fellow American Nancy Astor, who had married into the aristocracy and presided over a cabal of wealth and influence among the British Peers. Her home at Clivedon House was a popular retreat from London for “country weekends” and Kick was invited often. It was in this crowd of Astor’s guests that Kick proved herself to be unique among her peers in England. She played vigorous tennis, took part in passionate political debates and took the inevitable hazing in stride. At one such weekend, Kick awoke to find that all of her left shoes had been stolen. Instead of crying foul – “Kennedy’s never cry.” – Kick stuffed both feet into mismatched right shoes and hobbled down to breakfast with a smile. On another occasion, during a spirited dinner-table debate, Kick threw a bread roll down the table at a fellow guest. Her confidence and gameness for jokes impressed her tormentors and she was immediately thought of as “one of us”.
That summer of 1938, Kick met William “Billy” Cavendish, the heir to the Duke of Devonshire and the great estate of Chatsworth. They were polar opposites – where Kick was self-confident, laughing and vivacious, Billy was languid, proper and reserved. But they struck up a friendship and found themselves spending hours in each other’s company, talking into the early hours of the morning. A romance blossomed and their friends began to notice. But the now inevitable war was not the only impediment to a life together – Kick was a devout Catholic, from a family so entrenched in Roman Catholicism that they had attended the coronation of the Pope as his personal guests, and Billy was from a staunchly Protestant family with deep ties to the Anglican community. At this time, before the Vatican II reforms, a mixed-faith marriage would have been almost unheard of. All of their family and religious communities counseled that it was impossible. Amidst this personal heartache, the war began.
Kick and her siblings were sent home to America as Britain entered the war, and she would spend the next four years plotting a way to return. Her eighteen months in London had transformed her – she now thought of England as her home and felt that she belonged there, helping with the war effort alongside her friends. But Joe Kennedy forbad her from returning, despite many tearful pleas. Her life in America continued – she began working as a journalist and entered the Washington D.C. social scene alongside her beloved brother Jack. But all the while she was plotting her return, and Billy Cavendish was never far from her thoughts. While Kick continued on with her life in America, Billy joined the Coldstream Guards and was part of the British forces rescued at Dunkirk. Kick kept track of his war career through letters with family and friends and treasured the cherished letters Billy himself could send. She felt heartsick over her life of work and parties and casual boyfriends while Billy and her friends experienced wartime privations.
In 1943 she finally found a way to return to her beloved London – she joined the American Red Cross. America had entered the war and Kick travelled to England as one of the famed “Doughnut Dollies“. She returned to an England much changed by years of war and bombing – but her love for the country and for the friends she had made there was undiminished. She fell back into her old social scene as if she had never left. Her duties with the Red Cross included running a canteen for American Servicemen in London, providing them with a sense of home and normalcy as they prepared to ship off to the European Theater. The canteens threw parties, where the American Dollies danced with the men, talked with them and gave a listening ear. The girls kept up grueling schedules, opening the canteen early each morning and staying until late into the night.
Kick also took time away from her Red Cross duties to escape with her London friends for country weekends, full of parties and antics as they tried to recapture some of the life they had experienced before the war. Her romance with Billy, home on leave, picked up where it had left off. As war raged, they tried desperately to find a compromise of the religious question. Letters and telegrams flew across the Atlantic, to Rome and back. Kick was convinced that somehow they would find a way to be together. She loved Billy and would marry him. But despite her deep love for him, Kick refused to abandon her Catholic faith. Billy likewise could not compromise his own religious upbringing – as the eventual Duke, he would be responsible for choosing Anglican clergy to staff the various churches on his lands, a responsibility that would be impossible if he or his heir were Catholic. For months, it felt as if there was no hope.
But finally, as Billy’s position in the Coldstream Guards threatened to send him back to the front, a compromise was reached. They would wed, and any male offspring would be raised as Anglicans and any female as Catholics. The respective churches agreed and Kick and Billy were wed in a civil ceremony on May 6, 1944 in London. The only member of her family to attend was the only member who had supported her during the long fight to wed Billy, her eldest brother Joe Jr. Kick’s mother Rose checked herself into hospital for a month after the marriage, for nerves. Her family was silent and it would take months for a reconciliation.
Kick and Billy had five glorious weeks together. They honeymooned at a cottage on the Chatsworth estate, visited friends and spent every moment together. Five weeks after their wedding, Billy was called up and sent to the Continent. Kick remained behind in London, continuing her Red Cross work. On August 12, 1944 her brother Joe Jr. was killed when his plane exploded on a secret bombing mission. The only member of her family who had supported her in her quest to marry the man she loved was now dead. His death was a blow, and with Billy still away in Europe Kick immediately returned to America to mourn with her family. The war was reaching a climax – France & Belgium were being liberated and the Allies had the Axis powers on the run in Europe. Billy Cavendish was on the front lines in Belgium, leading his men as they cut across the countryside, liberating villages and towns. His letters to his wife and to his family document his immense pride as they were greeted by cheering villagers and crying townspeople. He wrote of how humbling it was to see the suffering and the joy. By all accounts a brave and fair leader, Billy’s men were devoted to him. He had come into his own. On September 9, 1944, less than a month after the death of Kick’s brother Joe Jr., Billy was killed by sniper fire while liberating a Belgium village. He was shot through the heart. He and Kick had been married for five months.
Kick would return to London, as the widowed Marchioness of Hartington, and create a life for herself there after Billy’s death. Her love of England was too strong to stay away and she desperately wanted to grieve Billy’s death among his family and those who had known him. She left her family behind and permanently settled in London where she lived for four years, surrounding herself with a group of beloved friends. She had ambitions to create a political salon – she was a Kennedy after all – and felt it was a continuation of the life Billy had planned for her. He had been intrigued by the letters of his illustrious ancestor Georgiana Cavendish Duchess of Devonshire, the celebrated political hostess of the 18th century, and had hoped that Kick would continue the tradition as he sought his own political career. She devoted her life to her London friends for four years before being killed in a plane crash with her married lover. She had once again defied her family and sought love on her own terms. She was buried in a church yard near Chatsworth by Billy’s family. Her father was the only member of her family to attend her funeral. A tragic end, to a bright young life.
Kick was vivacious and confident, the female counterpart to her closest sibling Jack. One can only image what she would have been like if she had lived to see him become president – but in reality, one of JFKs last trips before his assassination would be to visit Kick’s grave at Chatsworth. Kick had defied her family for love – love of a man and love of a country. She had rebelled against her strict upbringing to chase happiness on her own terms, without sacrificing her deep faith or her charmed spirit. In the end she got what she wanted, but like so many other young people during those cursed years, had that happiness stolen from her by world war. But her story, so often written out of the Camelot mythology, is one of spirit and intelligence and love, and should be recounted.
For more extensive reading on Kick Kennedy, there are two well-researched and respected biographies: