They say that life is a journey, and mine has been an extraordinary one. From Dallas, TX to Malibu, CA to Deer Valley, UT and finally the French Countryside.... I have enjoyed and experienced some of the best that life has to offer.
While residing in Dallas with my husband and four wonderful children, I was known as the entertainer-in-residence. I adored giving dinner parties, cooking gourmet meals (swan éclairs, beef bourguigonon, anyone?) and the art of interior design. I soon turned this passion into a successful business. My company Audrey Table Linens began with an idea that produced large orders from Neiman-Marcus and Bloomingdales and blossomed into one of the most successful home furnishing companies in the country. As the licensee for Ralph Lauren, Lenox China, and Royal Doulton as well as producing table linens for Martha Stewart at KMart plus aisles of product at Target Stores, my customer list looked like the Who's Who of retail.
A successful business allowed me to travel, explore and discover. I've always been curious, always had a sense of adventure and always made wonderful friends along the way. I've climbed in the Himalayas Ana Purna range and discovered Dal Bat in Katmandu, pigeon in China, eaten Pachamanca (meat that is cooked for hours in a hole covered with hot stones) in Peru and shopped for antiques in Hong Kong on Hollywood Road. I bought a beautiful Cheongsam dress and a traditional Chinese Mao jacket in Beijing.
I climbed the Great Wall in Beijing, traveled down the Yangtze River in what I thought would be a cruise ship (of course I came prepared with lovely cruise wear). Instead it was a relic from the Communist era that we had to get out and push when the water became too shallow. We went to see the Three Gorges before the dam was built as they were planning to flood more than 100 villages and displace 1.2 million people in order to build the dam.
Yes, I was enamored with Paris, as we all are, and had an apartment on L'Ile Saint Louis. The city was bustling, energized, glamorous and chock-full of the fashion, design and great shopping finds I always seek. But my greatest find of all was my fifteenth century Château in the Perigord, aka Dordogne, region of France. Nestled in fields of lavender and sunflowers in a quaint village of country France, I thought it would be a special, beautiful place to come home to.
The Château became a labor of love, and it certainly needed a passionate and dedicated owner. It was virtually a ruin when I bought it and in the course of a year, with the help of a Beaux-Arts architect, we brought it back to life. We maintained as many of the original features as possible, including aged wooden beams, stone floors and firepaces in every room, including an enormous one in the sitting room. We then restored the original winding stone staircase. Everything we added, from the rescued old stone floors to the ancient tiles, to the chalk paint used on the walls was hand-picked to be in perfect keeping with the architectural sensitivities of the 1400's, not an easy task.
The one exception? The kitchen. As it turns out, there was no kitchen in any 15th century Châteaux; cooking was done outside on open wood fires or inside in the fireplace. No one I know, except my dear friend Hedda, in Dallas, cooks in their fireplace. We built a large modern kitchen because the gourmand in me needed it and my family and friends expected it.
Now I split my time between Dallas and the Dordogne. And somehow the combination works. My large network of friends in France enjoy dining on Texas Barbecue, homemade coleslaw and chili (many of the ingredients I carry back in my luggage) with a centerpiece of cactus, cowboy boots, sheriff's badges and beautiful flowers, on our way to a baroque music festival. My family in Dallas expects nothing less than truffles, foie gras and haricot vert before we go to our favorite Country Western concert.
I continue to entertain, travel and seek out fabulous hotels, experiences and unique finds like cashmere throws from Mongolia, salted caramels from L' Ile de Re. It's .....as it should be.
All the best,
Life. Style. And plenty more to come.