Friday, November 21, 2014

Holiday Entertaining Essentials


'Tis almost the season....so it's time to get stocked up for all your entertaining needs. When you have all the essentials, you're more likely to invite folks over.

The Sferra napkins above (a foldover cocktail style) are just $21/set of 4 from NumberFourEleven. Load up!!!!
If you find yourself running out of time to get something personalized, Emily McCarthy has some holiday essentials that can ship out in 2-3 days.
Love this....the "Cocktail Candle" debuts in the Prosecco scent, which can then be used as a cocktail glass after the candle has burned away! Two for one!
Now, put on something festive. Stock the bar cart. Set Pandora to your favorite holiday station. Light an abundance of candles. Dim the lights. Ok.....you're ready!

Let the Season begin!!!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Five Fabulous Gifts Under $75


Gift giving season is about to be upon us and it's time to get organized! Some people are super easy to buy for - they seem to like everything. Others are a little tougher. So, I think it helps to see a variety of gift ideas from different sources, as we all can get in little gift giving ruts.

Here are a few things I think are just great!

1. Donald Robertson for J. Crew and Crewcuts. You're following @donalddrawberston on Instagram, right? If not….start today! I've watched as Donald has gone from the doodle-loving Creative Director for Bobbi Brown with a cult-like following, to having his own artist show at Colette in Paris to collaborating with J. Crew and Kara Ross. The man is on FIRE!

His limited edition designs for J. Crew are whimsical and witty. And, you know they'll light up Instagram! $45

If you know someone with a serious relationship with chocolate, this will definitely rock their palette! $65

What does it include?
* milk chocolate covered animal crackers by Tumbador
* chocolate-covered cornflakes by Jacques Torres
* chocolate-covered cranberries by Fruition Chocolate
* Roni-Sue's chocolate dipped Martins pretzels
* chocolate peanut butter bites by hot cakes

In my hometown of Dallas, these key rings have been the thing for quite a while. Designed by 2 moms, they are stylish but practical! They slip over your wrist so you can use both hands. Also, they fit over a door knob, so you can leave your keys on the door you usually come and go from. With an easy key release, they are ideal for valet parking. And, this year, it appears the Big O, Oprah, has found them, too, as they made her Favorite Things list. $55

Oh, how I love a monogram! Nothing says, "I really thought about you", like giving a gift that is meant just for them. These are just super chic - whether you choose the script or the block style. I know you think I'd go for the pink, but this is one case where the black one just seems so timeless and luxe! zhush.com, $71


I have a fondness for candles, but don't always buy myself the prettiest ones. I think a lot of people are that way and so it is always so lovely to receive one as a gift. I love the nod to crackling fires/winter and the beautiful gold tone container that can be used for a myriad of uses after the candle has burned away. barneys.com, $48
The act of giving is slowing down long enough to consider someone in your life that you care about and showing them that in some tangible way. Enjoy the process….and start now, so that once you get to December, your gifts are wrapped and mailed and you are savoring the season.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Spotted…A Really Cool Space

Happy Monday!!! I hope you had a great weekend. I just returned from attending a milestone college reunion in Texas….so fun to reconnect with old friends who knew you when you weren't even sure where life would take you. 

Back to reality today and my spot in front of my computer. I work in a teeny, tiny little space near my kitchen and family room…kind of a built in workspace. I thought it was a great idea originally, but I must admit to office-envy, as I would love a dedicated room for my *stuff*. So, I really stopped in my tracks when I spotted (pun intended) this amazing workspace created by Waiting On Martha blogger, Mandy, for the One Room Challenge

That wallpaper! The ghost chairs and Knoll table. That light fixture! What a happy workspace! I kind of want to move in. 
If you're interested in any of Mandy's sources….click here.

Do you have a dedicated office or workspace? I'd love to know!

images: Rustic White

Friday, November 14, 2014

Champagne Bar Cart

It's the weekend….so let's celebrate! 

Last week, I finally dusted off my bar cart (which had become a storage unit in a closet) and decided to find it a new home. It landed in the living room and I quickly decided that it needed to be a *champagne* bar cart, fitting for it's new pink-hued home.

Mixing old (the vintage crystal coupes found in a local thrift shop & the champagne cooler from France found at Dovecote) and the new (the monogrammed tray is from The Enchanted Home) gives the cart some interest. Add in monogrammed napkins from Madison and a couple of great vintage pieces from Eddie Ross (back when he would do pop-up shops) and it seems complete. 
Two important questions! Will you have your bubbles straight up or shall I give you a dash of St. Germain, Cassis or Chambord with that? Coupe or flute?

Here's to the weekend!!! Pop. Clink. Fizz!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day by Day: Great Calendars to Give for 2015

Most of us keep our daily lives planned on our electronic devices...syncing all of them, so we can stay organized. But, I find  a desk calendar as charming, decorative and helpful. I often need a reminder as to what the date is and enjoy having calendars in places where I may not have my computer.

Personally, I've been a fan of Karen Adams Designs for years and that is what you'll find on the desk in my bedroom. Definitely pretty enough to give! The boxed set is $59 with either a gold or silver easel. Refills are $29.

New this year, is an over-the-top limited edition calendar that is really a monthly gift within a gift. A hand crafted lucite stand is included and then each month is separately wrapped and labeled. Based upon the standard 2015 calendar, these versions are embellished with glitter, ribbons, rhinestones, etc...This one is priced much higher at $175, so is a very special gift!
One of the best value calendars (at $28), and definitely one of the cutest is the Dabney Lee custom calendar. You can choose to add a name or monogram and which month to start on. You don't have to start it in January, making it a great gift any time of year.

Finally, I am going through a pineapple phase....just love them! They say welcome. They mean hospitality. They taste great. They have great texture....ok, you get the point. They also make a great motif for a calendar, as designed by Linda & Harriett.

You can choose the letterpress version at $34, or.....
try this cool wrapping paper version at $49. After each month is over, you can use the paper to wrap a present or two. Perfect for your eco-friendly friends.
No matter how you track and count down your days....just make them count!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Christopher Spitzmiller - Lighting the Way

Lights, Camera….Christopher Spitzmiller!

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting the artist/entrepreneur at an event unveiling his new lamp line, Carleton Lamps, at Dovecote in Westport, CT. The line of shiny, glossy, sexy lamps is a collaboration with The Lacquer Company and is set at a lower price point than his exquisite one-of-a-kind lamps.

You've seen his work in countless shelter magazines and his lamps are often the piece that makes a room, much like the right piece of jewelry can make an outfit!
Accompanying Christopher to the event was interior designer, Sam Allen, who I first wrote about here 4 years ago and many times since. I've been following his burgeoning career with great enthusiasm and he has some very exciting news to share in early 2015. I promise to keep you posted!
Next stop for these two is L.A.'s Hollyhock, owned by renown designer, Suzanne Reinstein. It seems that Christopher is adding tabletop to his repertoire. Look for a big write up with the illuminating details in next month's Architectural Digest!

Here's to more bright ideas from Christopher! Which pair caught your eye?




Friday, November 7, 2014

4 Ways to Dress Up Your Thanksgiving Table

Are you hosting Thanksgiving at your home this year? 

I am and so is a friend who I was talking to recently. She always hosts Christmas, but this will be her first Thanksgiving for immediate and extended family.  She was looking for ideas, so H, this one is for you.

1. Mix and Match

I love the table above because sometimes you have more guests than you have table settings. This shows how you really can mix and match for a cohesive look. One way to accomplish the mix and match is to alternate patterns. You could also use the same color napkin to tie everything together.
2. Photographs

Such a great idea for a place card as well as a take home gift. This would take a little organization, but would be really fun, especially for children. You could use their baby photos. Below are examples of this on the adult table and the children's table, if you need to split things up.
3. Knock on Wood

Incorporating elements of wood is a great way to bring heft to what could be an otherwise delicate table setting. These wood chargers ground the white plates against the print tablecloth. Balance prints and solids to keep things from looking too busy.
4. Go Nuts

To keep from going nuts on expenses, using nuts in your decor is ideal (unless your guests have allergies)! In fact, I am absolutely going to incorporate big, chunky walnuts into my Thanksgiving decor. Make individual salt and pepper servers, load them up in bowls or fill a hurricane with a candle. You could actually do all of it for the cost of one flower arrangement....and munch on them while you watch football after dinner.
There are so many natural elements available, I would recommend keeping things simple. And, let the food be the star!

But, before you dress the turkey, dress your table....at least a couple of days ahead and you'll be thanking yourself that there's one less thing to do!

images: veranda, food network, waiting for martha for ballard design, entertaining house, martha stewart
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