We're on the train to New York, two hours in total. That's just enough time to backtrack a bit and recap the party reader Debra Phillips hosted for us at her store Scentimental Gardens earlier this month. After a quick change from flip flops to bowties, we headed from Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles, Illinois to nearby Geneva,
where in a 1905 Queen Anne home on State Street, Debra set up shop.


Connecting with readers online is amazing, but it's even better
when we're able to meet in person.
Debra, like most others we get to see these
days, came on a flea market shopping trip, but what a surprise when she emailed us offering
to host a party for us at her store! Cocktails
with the Vamp
down in New Orleans was such a blast (and Valorie herself so sweet) that we immediately accepted Debra's
invite, packed our best pastels, and headed
straight for the party after the flea market. 


Scentimental Gardens
really is such an adorable shop, full of
beautiful and unusual things for the home and
garden. And what's better is that
everybody who works with Debra is so warm
and welcoming that whether you're
spending 2 or 2000 dollars, you're
treated the same way. In that regard, it's a little like buying a 10-dollar hand towel at Bergdorf's. No matter how deep your
pockets, you can still walk into Debra's
store, buy a beautiful, one-of-a-kind gift, and
leave with that special, satisfying feeling of
money well-spent. Here's a peak at the
store's cool mix of home furnishings and garden ornaments. I love bringing garden
elements indoors, and it's something
Debra does extraordinarily well.


Some of the concrete pieces, like this faux bois planter, are fantastic, but it's the
that I'm obsessed with! I think they add such a fun but sophisticated
quirkiness to any garden.


This chic faux bois chair I imagine near a reflecting
pond or inside a foyer flanking a painted
demilune. And the
remind me so much of our friend
Margret Roach's blog frogboys. We were
colleagues back at MSLO and were even on
Martha's Blogging Show
together in September.


I love all these mossy terracotta pots Debra has.
They're great for planting, but I might
even use them for summer entertaining. Just
line them with kale or cabbage and do a pretty
crudité, perhaps like this


letters like these are super fun and graphic.
They're great on bookcases, in
mudrooms, and in kids' rooms as
monograms above a bed.


Check out what Debra
spelled on the hors d'oeuvre


Now my only regret is that I didn't snap a picture
of the fabulous spread of food, including
jumbo shrimp, a wonderful fillet, asparagus wrapped in phyllo, and chocolate-dipped maraschino cherries. I think I was so chatty at the party, meeting all of Debra's friends, customers, and clients that I got a bit distracted trying to balance camera and plate. I assure you, however, that everything was beautiful and delicious! Check out this cool outdoor fountain Debra used as an icing tub for beer and Pellegrino. Love it! 


After grabbing a drink from the fountain, I was on my way upstairs when I ran into Sharon, one of our other readers who had joined us at Kane County, then made the special trip to the party. She works for Paper Source in Chicago, so it's no surprise that the gift she gave me was packaged exquisitely.


It's actually a flea marketing journal Sharon wrapped herself with beautiful vintage monogrammed ribbon! How sweet is that? Thank you, Sharon!


The shop really is a beautiful, old house. Here, guests gather, sipping Pimms, in what was once the foyer!


Upstairs, there's a great mix of modern and antique furnishings with a fresh, curatorial feel. How cool is this bentwood table topped with vintage globes? And the gray of the painted floors, too, reminds me of the palette in our old city apartment.


These crest back chairs I think are fantastic, and these old street signs make for such cool, modern art.


Speaking of chairs, how cute and thoughtful are these?


Even the way the pictures are hung on the wall with the objects is a great idea for displaying art. That Roman etching, too, both Jaithan and I were coveting. And do you see that pretty arrangement of flowers on the table?


You'd think they're fresh cut from the garden outside, but really they're silk! And doesn't this look like the most beautiful, fresh floral room in an upscale shop? Everything here is silk, but they're all done so tastefully, from the vessels to the choice of flowers, that you'd never know!


I love flowers, especially peonies, so this painting definitely caught my eye as well. I think I'm drawn to the moody, muted colors in the work. It feels antique, like the flower variety itself. 


And finally, for the last image of the evening, how cute are these? They may look like matchbooks, but they're actually miniature notepads, perfect for jotting down thoughts, measurements, and whatever other musings come to mind.


How scentimental indeed!