What are your favorite AK products and why?
Mercury hobo - I LOVE my multi-colored python Mercury hobo. It is lined in the prettiest petal pink and makes me happy every time I reach into it.
Letter Keychains - These are great and look cute peeking out of your jeans pocket. And they are the perfect gift.
iPhone Cover - It feels like jewelry - I spend A LOT of time in the field; ponytail and sweaty - not so cute - my snazzy AK iPhone perks me right up.
I just took up shooting skeet and I am gunning for...a turquoise AK shotgun shell bag.
What are your latest obsessions?
- Those tall skinny cans of Perrier Water - Grapefruit flavor
- My new Omega 350 Juicer - there is nothing that thing can't juice
- Geysers at Yellowstone - Magnificent turquoise, greens, and puce. I am thinking the next pool we design will be geyser blue
- I am a magazine addict and subscribe to all my favorites. Sadly, if I see one of my covers at the newsstand before it lands in the mailbox I cannot resist and I have to buy it
- Ice-cold pink champagne and freshly shucked oysters
- Oushak rugs - the designs look like garden plans
- Vintage Della Robbia Plaques and Encaustic Tiles - Great in the garden
- Vintage garden statuary - you should see the giant frogs in front of my house!
- I collect rocks from my travels, write on them in sharpie and keep them in a big bowl on the coffee table - happy way to remember trips
- I am a master swimmer and I addictively record my swim mileage on the United States Masters Swimming
- Association fitness log site - so far my record is 300 miles swum in one year
Who or what inspires you and why?
Everything inspires me. One never knows when inspiration will strike. I have kept sketchbooks for years, filled with drawings, tear-outs, notes, and travel notes when on the road. In architecture school you are encouraged to keep sketchbooks. I was also inspired by Peter Beard's collaging from the 70's.
Where is your favorite place you have ever traveled to and why?
While I was getting my Masters in Landscape Architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland, we were taken on an incredible trip of all of England's important gardens. That trip truly changed my life. What I saw and learned continues to influence my design principles today.
Thailand is such a visual treat. I love the visual tension of Bangkok with its juxtaposition of the new and the old. You can be on the street in the midst of massive humanity, elephants, and ox drawn carts and then you look up and see the world's largest jumbo-tron. The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Chiang Mai has two of my favorite things on earth; the Dhara Dhevi Spa (best treatments ever) and their main swimming pool that is HUGE and lined entirely in mosaic tiles and to boot the whole place smells of delicious lemon grass.
What are your favorite apps on your iPhone?
- Measures Lite - great for noting dimensions in the field
- Adobe Photoshop Express
- Google Earth - crucial for architects and for the layman: fun internet sleuthing
- Pic Collage - hours I will NEVER get back...
- Match.com App - had this one for about six months and turns out...I was a huge hit with long-Haul truckers in Alabama and the Dakotas!
What are the top five songs you are loving right now?
- Pitbull - Give Me Everything
- Shakira - Addicted to You
- Justin Timberlake - Suite and Tie
- Marvin Gaye - Sexual Healing T
- one Loc - Funky Cold Medina
What are your beauty essentials and secrets?
One's personal landscape is no different than tending a garden; both require a great deal of maintenance and the "secret" would be a highly trained cadre of professionals.
My favorite spackles and potions of the moment are:
- Laura Mercier - illuminating tinted moisturizer
- YSL Golden Lip Gloss #45 Gold Quartz - clean pretty sparkle
- NUXE Gold Flecked Body Oil - so pretty on bare suntanned legs
- Essie Turquoise and Caicos nail polish - the perfect summer color
- Hermes Pamplemousse Rose Perfume - I don't leave the house without it
- Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap - loofah your whole body with this and you will feel shiny and new
What can anyone buy under $50 that would make them super happy?
I gave this question A LOT of thought and again I have two answers.
A fresh lipstick and a new pair of Havaianas slim strap flip-flops and you'll still get some change back!
Tiare room spray - my cousin got married a few months ago at the Eden Roc Hotel in St. Barts - they spray your room with this and it smells like HEAVEN and a bargain at $39.95.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Ironed Sheets, Twizzlers, Remote Control
My idea of a good time: My bed, Violet (the dog), a stack of new magazines and hours to kill.
What are some of your secrets to a fabulous dinner party?
- Dinner parties are so much fun, but the pulling it together can wear you out so keep it simple and enjoy your guests. Garden dinner party in a SNAP:
- A good dinner party is all about the people, so mix it up: age-groups, backgrounds and interests.
- Don't complicate your menu - simple, delicious and room temperature buffet, with finger food desserts - and if you don't have time to cook....there is NO shame in take out.
- Flowers can be as easy as grocery store roses in low containers. I like lots of little clumps of varying heights.
- Candies in deeper glass containers so they don't blow out.
- Keep your beverages on the table: wine bottles, pretty containers of water both flat and fizzy, so guests can self-serve.
What is on your T.V. and what shows are you loving?
Nurse Jackie, Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, CBS Sunday Morning and if ANY programming comes on that involves a talking animal...I'm in.
What is on your nightstand?
Jo Malone Orange Blossom Body Creme, Jo Malone Orange Blossom Candle, a silver bowl filled with Milk Bones and I use wooden clothes pins to attach photos/invitations like a pin board on my lampshade and always pink light bulbs.
What is your favorite flower and why?
Asking me that is like asking someone who their favorite child is!
- Summer: Gardenia
- Winter: Peonies/Pansies/Sweet Peas
- Year Round: Garden Roses
What are your top five favorite gardens?
- Lotusland in Santa Barbara - Crazy Shells and Cactus
- Château Vaux-le-Vicomte - Outside of Paris, its creation is filled with great lore and intrigue
- Thomas Jefferson's Monticello - I adore the house and gardens
- Paleis Het Loo in Holland - Dutch order at its best
- Levens Hall - Outrageous topiary gardens
And to view all of my favorite gardens around the world, click here.
What would be your dream job and dream collaboration?
I love collaborations and have been very lucky to work with some great architects and designers. Lately I have been dreaming of a sleek clean modern landscape with lots of planes of grass and cut out water shapes.
Who is Cedar Baldridge and why do we love her?
Born in Mission, Texas, Cedar grew up on her family's cattle ranch and farms in a remote part of Mexico. As a young girl she used to lay on the corral fence and read her mother's Vogue magazine and dream. Cedar completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas in Austin, earned a Masters in Landscape Architecture abroad at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland and then returned stateside to further her knowledge at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Career Discovery Program.
After falling in love with gardening, she is now a beyond amazing landscape designer and owner of Houston based Baldridge Landscape. Her one-of-a-kind creativity, attention to detail and unbridled passion for her work sets her apart and builds a strong working relationship between herself and her clients.
"Designing landscapes is all about telling stories," Cedar says. "And my ranching background was the perfect education for large project management."
Not only is Cedar insanely creative, but she is also side spittingly funny. She makes your home a happy home and has original and fun ideas to incorporate your personality and lifestyle into her work. Her sidekick, Violet, a rescue dog Cedar has had for over 10 years is her constant companion. Cedar can throw a killer dinner party and shares her inspirations and collaborations on her website blog. She has been a good friend of mine since I moved to Houston and constantly makes me smile.
To take a sneak peek into a day in the life of the fabulous Cedar click here for the YouTube video.