Topiary Art

It started with a tweet! Sometimes, that's all it takes to meet some really nifty & talented people.

That's how I came to know
Michelle Masters and her incredible Topiary Art!
After a year of painting her love of gardening and growing things found their way to the paper and her first watercolor and ink topiary was created.
These are absolutely charming!

She works in watercolor, pastels and oils and her interests are represented by a range of subject matter including: the study of complex natural forms, landscapes, equine art, and of course- garden art.
In our emails to each other yesterday we quickly discovered,
"Yes, we do
have some wonderful things in common, gardening, entertaining, art
and love of dogs and family."
She even has a Gracie! I think that my Gracie would adore these notecards!
Michelle's clever images are clean, simple, uncluttered and well designed.
 Michelle Masters Topiary Art and products are sold through her website & in a limited number of fine stores, boutiques and garden centers throughout the United States.

You can also catch her over at her blog, where she introduces you to her family & farm in Upstate New York!
You are right Michelle,
"It is such a blessing to be able to do what you love."

Going Somewhere?

In an era of airport security and canceled flights, railcars are a chance to travel in luxury at a leisurely pace.


Ralph Lauren Magazine

Train travel will make you understand the old saying,

“Getting there is half the fun.”


Ralph Lauren Magazine

I have traveled by train along the California coast from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.

photo by Thomas J. Story for Sunset

Thomas J. Story for Sunset

The scenery of course was fabulous, on my right, lush rolling hills, on my left, the big blue Pacific, in our lounge area, four friends having great fun without a care in the world!


Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Traveling this way was wonderful. We arrived in Santa Barbara feeling relaxed and ready to dine, shop and check-in for a nice long girls weekend!

santa barbara train ststion

One of these days, I think that the MR. and I need to travel aboard the Orient Express!


Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

A journey onboard this luxury train would be a truly unforgettable travel experience through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Like Lucerne, Switzerland!

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express offers a journey unlike any other. Step aboard and you step back into a more gracious, elegant age of travel.

Ralph Lauren Magazine

Romance, adventure and style are all intimately bound up in luxury train travels that criss-cross through the sublime scenery of Europe.


Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

And also between some of the continent's most alluring cities.


Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Stylish, iconic and truly unique, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is the perfect way to travel. Your experience begins the moment you arrive at the station.

VSOE-Exterior Carriage

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Musicians, photographers, and platform entertainment set the mood for a travel experience like no other.

Boarding the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Once you board, relax in a leather club chair and experience history and tradition with authentic touches, such as the deep mahogany wood interior, original brass hardware and vintage railroad china and silver.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

In your cabin you will find a welcome letter, flowers, champagne, and a gift!

Champagne via Orient Express

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The steward responsible for your carriage will be available at all times and may be called by the bell in your cabin. Afternoon tea is served in style!

afternoon tea by Simon Brown for VSOE

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

He will take care of your passport during the journey, convert your cabin from daytime seating to a luxurious bedroom, while you are at dinner, serve breakfast and provide you with any other refreshments in your cabin as required.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The Maitre D' will come to your cabin to take your lunch and dinner reservations in advance of your meal.

The Maitre D. VSOE

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Yes indeed dining on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is an unforgettable delight.

VSOEdining car 'Etoile du Nord' by Simon Brown

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Do be sure and dress for dinner though and perhaps visit the bar car for an aperitif.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

This dining car evokes the allure and elegance of bygone eras.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Excellent cuisine prepared onboard by a private chef, fine wine, white linen tables set with fine china and silver, and a personal view of the breathtaking vistas create a dining event you won’t soon forget.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Travelling in private cabins impeccably restored to their former glory, passengers are assured of a truly unique travel experience complimented by the very best personal service.

cabin suite on VSOE

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Each cabin has many luxurious appointments including an original washbasin cabinet with hot and cold water.

black tie

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

At night-time becomes a comfortable bedroom, complete with soft towels and 600 thread count Egyptian cotton linens.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Welcome the day in your private cabin with a steaming cup of coffee as the sun rises over the passing landscape. As spectacular vistas unfold one after another, time passes more slowly.

  Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The Orient Express recognizes that travel today is very much a matter of personal choice and preferences. All itineraries can be tailored to your own plans however long or short you wish the journey to last.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Once you arrive at your destination spend the day exploring cities knowing that you’ll come back to all the comforts of home delivered by your personal steward. ‘Lalique Pullman’ was built in 1929 as a first class Pullman and was decorated by René Lalique in the ‘Côte d’Azur’ style.

Fleche d'Or detail2070419987_663a066565_o

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

A full day of exploring may call for a martini, shaken, not stirred...

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

While you are touring, the chefs are shopping for local delicacies, choosing only the freshest and finest ingredients to prepare your hand-crafted meals.

VSOE-chefs purchase fresh supplies by Simon Brown for VSOE

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Today, the gleaming carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express continue to transport passengers across Europe in exquisite surroundings.

Train Travel via Orient Express

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Book a memorable journey and along the way, stay at some of Europe's finest hotels. Each of their packages have been created around the centerpiece of a journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express - one of the most romantic journeys in the world.

All Aboard!

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

I wanted to humbly share with you all a very nice note that I received this evening. This kind acknowledgement & compliment is what feeds a blogger's soul...

Dear Lisa,

I had a look at your lovely blog, and it seems that you are promoting our train in a most charming way. Thank you.  Best of luck with your beautiful collection!

Kind regards,
Dana Catterina
Marketing Services Executive

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

click to explore more...

Happy Birthday Little Blog...

The Lisa Porter Collection turned One today!

Me & my little blog, we conceived a wonderful new plan, and because you noticed, we realized a dream delayed, experienced a new freedom, discovered a new strength, found new friends, achieved long-sought goals & reached toward new aspirations. So Happy First Birthday little blog, you aren't turning older with the year, but newer every day!
Every day here with each one of you has been such a wonderful gift, thank you!
xo Lisa

Thank You Williams-Sonoma

I have been preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my family for the last 15 years. You know who taught me how...this gentleman.

Chuck Williams

I was with Williams-Sonoma for many wonderful years , the last few as a special events coordinator in Southern California at South Coast Plaza. During that time, I had the privilege of getting to know Chuck Williams.

Sitting with him in the stock room prior to a book signing event for his Complete Entertaining Cookbook, we discussed  family, cooking & traditions.  We agreed that Thanksgiving has always been most memorable with good friends & good food lovingly prepared and served in classic Williams-Sonoma style!

This year, Mr. Williams and his wonderful "foodies" at Williams-Sonoma have provided you with a Thanksgiving Menu Booklet!  Download this step by step brochure full of recipes, and a timeline for planning ahead!

The prospect of hosting a Thanksgiving celebration can be daunting! It is, after all, traditionally a big meal with many elements to manage, including shopping.
They have even gone ahead & made your grocery list!  I wonder if they deliver?

A well stocked pantry is a must to preparing a wonderful feast with ease. Many of these items are year round staples in my pantry.  Preparing any meal with Williams-Sonoma specialty foods saves time in the kitchen and preserves the authentic homemade flavors we love.

It also helps to have the right tools! My son will tell you that I do have a pretty nifty kitchen drawer filled with fantabulous tools & gadgets!   His favorite is my kitchen torch!  The brochure provides tips & a tool list too!

Whether preparing handed-down favorites or creating a new tradition of your own, Williams-Sonoma can help. If your meal is genuine and satisfying, you and your family and guests will have a memorable occasion.

In our home, when we come together with family and friends to express, through words, laughter and the pleasures of the table, how grateful we are to have one another, that is our perfect Thanksgiving.

Shop Williams-Sonoma Today!