Lesley has all the qualities that we over here at C&P admire and love. She’s whip smart, lovely to look at, super witty and has a funny little dog named Ya-Ya. She’s rooted in the past but firmly planted in the present which will make perfect sense once you get your hands on a copy of her great new book, Let’s Bring Back, based on her column at the Huffington Post. It’s an encyclopedia of style, living well and taking care of the simple things with grace. Take a peek into her world and get inspired to throw a dinner party, start a hobby or wear tennis whites.
Photo byÂ John von Pamer
The Barefoot Contessaâ€™s Beef Bourguignon.
Last great book you read?
Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford.
Autumn drink of choice?
Hot toddies: they’re the perfect cure for the common cold, and therefore a reasonable excuse to stay drunk all winter long.
Your Animals-names and breeds?
Ya-Ya, my French bulldog.
Do you exercise? What do you do, if so?
Yes, I play tennis, ride horses (which is harder work than it appears), walk everywhere, and have private tantrums, which can burn up to 500 calories an hour.
Salty or sweet?
Both, preferably together.Â If I were a priest, Iâ€™d give communion with squares of Vosgesâ€™ salt-filled chocolate â€˜Barcelonaâ€™ bars instead of those dreadful papery wafers.
Who inspires you and why?
Fashion editor Diana Vreeland, because of her joyous creativity; and silver screen goddess Marlene Dietrich, because she managed to be at once the emblem of glamour and the humblest of mensches.
Pool or ocean?
New York City.Â Iâ€™m its most devoted mistress.
Last great vacation?
Barcelona and San Sebastian with my husband â€“ heavenly. Pintxos, icy beer, and gin rummy in the Plaza de la Constitucion every day at 2 oâ€™clock in the afternoon: a decadent alternative to teatime.
Favorite tv show?
Mad Men, of course.
Weirdest job youâ€™ve ever had?
While itâ€™s not a job in the strictest sense, when I was a kid, I was asked to be a flower girl in a wedding.Â My parents were flabbergasted, for I was the dirtiest, most awfully-behaved tomboy on the planet.Â Letâ€™s just say that it was an amusing disaster.
The â€˜21â€™ Club.Â It just radiates old-world glamour, especially the hidden dining room in the old speakeasy behind the kitchen.
Favorite object in your home?
My signed first editions of Marlene Dietrichâ€™s ABC and Diana Vreelandâ€™s memoir, D.V.
And a 1920s photograph of my grandmother posing nude in a flower-filled meadow, with a modest chain of daisies slung around her waist.
Favorite piece of clothing?
My engagement ring, a deco beauty designed for me by my husband.
Favorite blog or website?
eBay, because thatâ€™s where I find most of the delightful, strange vintage objets that adorn my house, from old Fred Astaire records to deco chandeliers to elbow gloves.
Something youâ€™re scared of?
Irrelevance, lack of self-awareness, and crazy taxi drivers.
Right now, a four-record series by blues singer Mildred Bailey, a saucy, once-famous predecessor to Billie Holiday.Â Theyâ€™re all I listen to.Â My husband is ready to fling them into the Hudson River.
â€œLovefoolâ€ by the Cardigans.
Your Ideal day?
A daytime summer picnic with my husband and French bulldog in the woods â€¦ chased by an evening of high-octane glamour at the Stork Club.Â Yes, I know that the Stork Club closed years ago â€“ but you did say â€œIdeal.â€
Favorite gift youâ€™ve ever received?
The ability to put words together in a witty way on paper.
What do you do for a living?
Get paid (not grandly, but enough) to live in my imagination and to broadcast my opinions.
Where do you live?
Greenwich Village, New York City.
Your lucky number?
What piece of art would you buy if you had absolutely no budget?
Do you mean if budget were no issue?Â Then I would buy the mural that Jackson Pollock made for the foyer of Peggy Guggenheimâ€™s New York City townhouse.
If I had absolutely no budget (which is usually the case with me), Iâ€™d ferret out something divine from the depths of the flea market.Â A few weeks ago, I found a bulb-covered star from an old traveling circus. Â I bought it for $50, and I think itâ€™s beautiful.