WVW: May Day Martinis* (+ My Sanctuary)

Several of you commented on my patio in my last post, and in another recent post I told you how hail assailed the canopy of my beloved gazebo. Perhaps the hail was divine intervention; the mosquito netting on my four-year-old gazebo had long since met it’s demise, and the canopy was weather-beaten and in need of replacement anyway.

Over the weekend, the replacements arrived and Hubby installed them, so I thought it would be nice to share some photos of this outdoor room, which is my little sanctuary. You will often find me here reading magazines, entertaining, sipping coffee—or martinis—when the weather is nice. It’s a bit weathered, yes. But I tell you, once the sun goes down and I bring out the candles, it is magical.

With my gazebo back in working order, I’ve decided it’s time to spruce it up a bit. Hubby and I toddled off on Saturday and picked up the lantern. We wanted to elevate our candlelight, and prevent the candles from being blown out by the wind. Was so happy to find this sizeable lantern at Pottery Barn, and at 20% off.

Replacing my furniture is not an option, but I’m on the hunt for some great pillows to add some color to this space. As I continue to add to the decor, I’ll be sure to snap some photos to share with all of you.

*WVW = What V Wore
Cardigan: Ann Taylor • Tank: NY & Co. • Pants: Michael Kors • Necklace: Banana Republic
Heels: BCBG • Ring: Yves Saint Laurent • Nails: Essie Pink Parka • Lippie: YSL Rouge Pur #49

A close-up of my necklace. Love the crystals on it! Don’t you?

PS:  Here’s the recipe for my signature drink, the Dirty Martini (a.k.a. the Vahni-tini?):

  1. After removing pimentos with a toothpick, hand-stuff large (queen) Spanish olives with fresh bleu cheese crumbles.
    My preferred brand is Carbonell, from Costco.
  2. Pour 1 oz olive juice (from your olive jar), 1 oz dry vermouth, and 3 oz Bombay Sapphire gin into a cocktail shaker.
    If you can’t handle the gin, substitute your favorite vodka instead.
  3. Shake vigorously, for at least 20 seconds (you want to see ice chips).
  4. Pour into martini glass and garnish with olives.



  1. Your gazebo/outdoor room is so lovely! I would spend all of my time out there when it’s not cold. You look gorgeous as usual; I am LOVING your pink lip! One of these days I’m going to try a bold lip, and a Vahni-tini sounds perfect for lounging in the backyard.

  2. I when I saw it in your last post I was so taken aback. It is more beautiful, magical and welcoming than any of my wildest dreams, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Vahni. How lucky you are to have a bit of paradise in your garden.
    This are not only words, they are feelings in writing.

  3. I love that you look so chic just relaxing at home! Your gazebo looks lovely and very “Zen” – the perfect place to chill with a Vahnitini. Thanks for sharing your recipe – I will have to try it soon. I love that bright pink lip you have going on, especially with the leopard cardigan!

  4. Such a soothing little spot. It looks like it would just melt the stress away…or maybe it’s the Vahni-tini. Either way, I want to come have a drink there with you!

    And yes, I love the construction of that necklace – such delicate chains holding chunky crystals! It’s perfect!

  5. Sorry, it was the last thing I read so it’s the first thing on my mind (we’ll go with that – nothing to do with it being a Monday or anything), but I’m loving the Vahnitini! The concept of blue cheese in the olives is too much, I definitely need to try this.

    Your patio is beautiful, and so is your landscaping. I’m pretty sure you have my dream backyard. I grew up in cookie cutter subdivisions and the last house I lived in had me literally being able to see what was in my neighbor’s fridge so I quite envy the seclusion you’ve got with all those gorgeous trees.

    And of course I love your look. You pull off pink lips so well! Someday I’ll actually go outside my comfort zone and try it again. Another VG moment! Ha.

    1. Go for it, Casee! Pink lippie is so fun! I actually get compliments from guys AND girls when I wear this one.

      Thanks, doll~

  6. OMG your patio looks so dreamy and peaceful! My boyfriend is actually working on our patio as well, and I am dying to have it done already, so I can relax and enjoy a good book out in the nice weather!!!
    I have that sculpture you have on your table too! I love it.

    Now I know what I’ll be making this weekend! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂


  7. Can I move into your gazebo? That looks so comfortable and homey, I can understand why you spend so much time there. We actually have a similar gazebo at our house, but instead of a nice seating arrangement we use it to house a dining table/chairs.

    Seeing this just proves how much more elegant and comfortable real furniture would be. Perhaps one day. In the meantime have a vahni-tini for me while lounging one of these spring nights! 🙂

  8. I’m in love with your outdoor room! It’s bliss! I can already imagine sitting out there sipping on tea, just enjoying the beautiful space around. You did an amazing job on it! 😉 And I definitely loved the new addition of the lantern. x

  9. Although I love living in the city, I do miss a garden. When I saw your sanctuary I began wondering where mine was?? I absolutely believe that your living space should be a place to reload and enjoy life. It looks like you and your hubby got that department covered. Pssst, you got me craving dirty martini’s on a monday now (oh boy!).

  10. Anything with bleu cheese sounds amazing to me, as well as Stilton, haha! Yes, this environment is simply astonishing V, I’m not certain if I’d ever go out to work if I lived connected to this paradise. Happy Monday! 🙂

  11. Vahni – -What a perfect outdoor respite. I love it. Plus it looks like the perfect spot to stage some great parties and summer outfit pics. – Katy

  12. Looks like such a relaxing, refreshing place, and your garden areas and planters are so pretty! The sight gives me some energy to plant more perennials this year. Thanks for sharing one of your spaces with us, and a recipe to boot! I think I’m going to have a vodka dirty martini tonight now, instead of a glass of wine.

  13. Your patio is gorgeous! It’s perfect for photoshoots! I live in San Francisco so it’s pretty hard to do photoshoots in a non-existent backyard. I usually have to resort to the rooftop or walk over to Golden Gate Park with all my gear! Anyways, I stumbled upon your site when I saw one of your comments on another fellow fashion bloggers site.


  14. Love the buddha–just looking at him makes me relax. And serious hangover memories of dirty martinis……you look fantastic among those surroundings~

  15. Such a beautiful space indeed! Glad you have that space to relax and just be. We’re hoping to put down some stones for a patio but for now, I’m happy to picnic on a quilt on the grass.

    Accessories and makeup are stunning, I’ve never tried that shade of pink and it’s getting me to think that I should. On another subject, I’m pondering maybe wearing my black leather skirt to work – like your last post a while back, it’s below the knee and I haven’t worn it in years, it’s just hanging in the closet…but I don’t know if I can pull it off, kinda nervous!


  16. I don’t know if I’m more jealous of your martini (ugh, it’s been quite the Monday) or the outdoor space you have. I’ve been looking for new apartments lately, and I would just love to have the teeniest tiniest patio – I can’t even imagine the day when I could afford to have something like this!! I guess that’s the price you pay for living in a major city! This looks like the perfect place to unwind after a long day!

  17. It looks like you live in a forest! How delightful! I want a magical canopy too – but my drink of choice is a margarita or a corona. So Cal girl all the way I’m afraid.

    Can’t wait to see more pics!


  18. Thank you for inviting us into more personal side of your life – it’s always interesting to see how and where bloggers live! And I might have to jot down the Vahnitini recipe! Cheers!


  19. Loving the Leopard print!

    The gazebo is awesome too, I wish I had garden with one of those, however I have to make due with a tiny Juliette balcony :-(. You just need a big shisha pie and your ready to go… if that’s your thing ha ha.

  20. So many perks to yard living! But my husband and I have been a hard sell on leaving the city. This gazebo is definitely very persuasive though. Love your neon pink lips and nails. I like to dress up sometimes, even if just staying in. The Gazebo makes it feel more proper!

  21. vahni this is DIVINE! this is a fabulous sanctuary that any lady would be lucky to relax in. i’m excited for your colorful pillows, i think they are going to be so cute. have you found any yet?

  22. Um hello please. I die of jealousy. Your gazebo is AMAZING> I dont even have a backyard! Ok I have a small balcony with a sea view… but still, I cant exactly have guests over and have a bbq on it. It must be a great place for the ladies to get together and drink martinis! The perfect Sunday evening spot… I am also loving that lippy shade, and since that seems more attainable, I think I’ll go buy some.. today. X

  23. Vahni, love the gazebo, I’m so jealous and wish I could come over. I’m not a dirty martini gal but I’d bring champagne for all! Are you coming to NYC for the McQueen exhibit? I just did a review, it was amazing. If you come let me know, I’ll meet you at the Met and we can have a drink right there afterward!

    1. Jill, thank you! Now you’ve got me thinking. Would so love to see that exhibit and my family in NY. Will absolutely let you know if I make it up there!

  24. jealous. can i come visit?

    yeah, i reached out to him a while back and he said it was okay, so i’m going to keep doing it 😉 for a little bit at least! i LOVED that neyo guy, haha-hilarious!

  25. Oh Looooooove! Your gazebo is like my dream space. NY is great but I wish I could have something like this in a my dream backyard…oh how I would lay on your couch!

    And I diiiiiiiiied over your lipstick just now! I love it! I think there is too much yellow in my skin to pull it off, but it is gorgeous on you.

  26. I am so envious of this outdoor space – what an amazing sanctuary! The better half is currently trying to lay down a decking area in ours so hopefully the garden will look nice for this summer! XXX Alfred passes on a big lick 🙂

  27. V the patio is a fabulous oasis you have created for yourself.
    Thank you for the Birthday wishes. I am having a birthday Vahni-tini in your honor.
    Xo Mish

  28. What a perfectly styled little corner! I absolutely love what you’ve done with it. I can just imagine sitting there with an ice cold lemonade reading a magazine while feeling the soft breeze. Such heaven!

  29. *writes down the recipe for a Vahni-tini* Ok I might be having that tomorrow instead of doing shots of tequila for Cinco de Mayo. But your patio looks very relaxing and perfect for doing yoga and reading. he garden reminds of the gardens in Mississippi [childhood memories]. Thanks for another great post.

  30. I love your outdoor space- it looks like a great place to relax and kick back like you’re doing in these pictures! Also, your pink lipstick and bright pink nails are fantastic! =)

  31. Remember when we were all voting on the last FTF Community theme, and you voted for no house work day? I imagine it would look somehing like this! I could go on about the beauty of your patio, the fantastic budda, the wonderful atmosphere of the space, your leopard cardi, your hot nails, and your overall beauty, but instead I`ll say this: I love that you create spaces in your life that fill you up and are a reflection of you. I vizualize lounging in that sofa with you, getting ever so slightly tipsy thanks to the Vahni-tinis (shaken and stirred) and I feel at peace. Love it, and love you.

  32. Aha, I thought as much… when dusk appears it’s cocktail hour in the gazebo…. nice one doll! Bet it must be amazing when summer’s in full swing.

    Have a fab week.

  33. I can see and feel how relaxed you look. Love the pink nails and lipstick covered in pink.
    Next time when you go, don’t forget to invite you aussie friend here.
    You look very Vahnilicious.. hahah
    lee x

  34. What a lovely haven you’ve got there! I’m a big fan of sitting outside to unwind, our garden has been delightful lately. You look as stylish as ever, of course!
    Xo, f

  35. Hi V!

    OMG, I love the ring you are wearing! love wearing statement pieces like that. I can never pull off that lipstick color you are wearing, it looks great on you. Thanks for the comment, glad you liked the platforms they are super cute. Keep checking the site, I will be posting more items throughout the weekend I think you will love.


  36. That lounging area looks divine. I have a huge garden but have yet to do anything wityh it. Like you I LOVE martinis so i’ll be sure to try that out 🙂

  37. My goodness, your gazebo is so awesome. i have to have a backyard like that some day soon. and your outfit is lovely as well, but your best accessory is your stunning hair!

  38. This looks like the perfect May Day activity. If my backyard looked like this I would never leave! Love your YSL arty and your lip color! So beautiful 🙂


  39. Goodness, your backyard is a dream!! Happy-hour would be in my backyard every evening….

    Well that’s a bit too much. Maybe every OTHER evening, haha. &I love the pink lipstick too!!


  40. YES to dirty vodka martinis (we usually don’t have good gin on hand. WHAT IS WRONG WITH MEE!? Haha).

    Also, your patio is super bomb. Drinks at V’s house! 😉

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