On wearing white after Labor Day

So Labor Day is officially behind us. In the "olden days" this meant packing up all your summer clothes - your madras, linen, seersucker, and whites. It's hard to imagine packing up these items when the temperatures, even here in New England, are still well into the 80s and even the 90s on some days. I believe that it is wiser to dress for the weather than for the season. I also believe that once you learn the rules they are meant to be broken. 

As I've gotten older I've learned to be more of a risk taker and rule breaker. It's always important to know the basics - what works and what doesn't work. It takes some time, some trial and error. You have to figure out what works for you and what doesn't. And over time, what once worked for you may no longer do so. When it comes to style it's a matter that is personal and individual. 

The rules of fashion are forever changing and evolving. It seems that the "rules" are getting more and more lax. Our lifestyles are becoming more and more casual, the workplace is becoming more and more casual and our lives are busier and busier as we hustle and bustle from one place to another, one activity to another, one meeting to another. Our lifestyle choices both affect and impact our wardrobe choices.

As I sit down to write this, on a very hot and humid day here in Connecticut, some might say that I am defying the Fashion Rules. It would look silly to be dressed in wool or anything warm for that matter. The idea of anything warm or tight-fitting is completely unappealing. And so I sit at my kitchen table - work sprawled out everywhere, wearing not just a little white dress, but a little white sundress. And white flip flops. And my hair is tied up in a knot on top of my head. Because it's hot out. Damned hot. Have I mentioned that? And so for that reason alone, some rules must be broken. I haven't packed up my white jeans for quite some time, and perhaps I never will!

white after Labor Day - Image via Who What WearW

white after Labor Day - Image via Who What WearW

white after Labor Day? Image via Divine Caroline

white after Labor Day? Image via Divine Caroline

white after Labor Day - Image via www.getfabblog.com

white after Labor Day - Image via www.getfabblog.com

How to wear white after Labor Day. Image via www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com

How to wear white after Labor Day. Image via www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com

On wearing white after Labor Day - Image via www.shopstyle.com

On wearing white after Labor Day - Image via www.shopstyle.com

How to wear white after Labor Day. Image via Street Style, Tumblr

How to wear white after Labor Day. Image via Street Style, Tumblr

White after Labor Day - Image via Stylin in St. Louis

White after Labor Day - Image via Stylin in St. Louis

Wearing White After Labor Day - Image via Wit and Delight, Tumblr

Wearing White After Labor Day - Image via Wit and Delight, Tumblr

Wearing white after Labor Day. Image via Glamour

Wearing white after Labor Day. Image via Glamour

I've long been wearing jeans after Labor Day... And I've long been rather obsessed with white jeans. For more style ideas visit here and here

Rethinking the overall :: Can these classic dungarees pull off chic?

Overalls as seen in Whowhatwear.com

Overalls as seen in Whowhatwear.com

Overalls en vogue? Is it possible to even use the two words in the same sentence? Can they be chic? As I start to see overalls popping up more and more in ads, on blogs and in magazines, I wonder can these dungarees actually be worn by women who want to take themselves seriously? Out in the garden, in the farm and in the artist's studio, these comfortable and easy pieces seem only fitting. But can they be pulled off to be seen as something chic, au courant, even fashionable? When photographed in the streets of New York City, Milan or Paris, well, of course they can. But what about elsewhere? What about on tony suburban sidewalks? Can a fitted blazer, a pair of heels, Valentino studs or otherwise bring elevate this frumpy item and bring it to a new level? Is this something that I can perhaps wear while at home writing then dash out to meet a client? Is this something that I can wear at my age... 40-something and not getting any younger? 

I had a great pair of overalls in my 20s. They were bright red and from GapKids. (When you are 5'4" you can sometimes get away with shopping in the kid's section - well at least I used to back then. Not so much anymore.) I wore those red overalls with pride. They were fun and funky. In my 30s I'm not sure I would have. I had evolved and my style had matured. I became conservative. Perhaps too conservative in style. Classic is always a good thing, but I had lost some of my edge. By the time I hit 40 I once again became more creative in my choice of style. It no longer mattered to me to fit in or what people thought. Always appropriate but always creative. And the older I get I find myself getting more and more creative with my dress. I don't conform to rules and regulations. I wear things that I feel look good on me and are comfortable. I spent too many years sacrificing comfort. And for what? How I dress is important. I represent high profile clients and luxury brands. Would I show up at a meeting in overalls? Probably not. But could I pull off the look in my day to day life - running errands, dining out, working? I think I just might. If I can stay home and work in a pair of jeans and nice shirt then toss on a blazer or jacket and heels when I leave the house, can I do the same with overalls? The jury is still out here. I would love to know what you think! 

Overalls as seen in Whowhatwear.com

Overalls as seen in Whowhatwear.com

As seen in They All Hate Us

As seen in They All Hate Us

Found on Free People

Found on Free People

A pair of Chanel flats, a Burberry trench perfectly dress up a pair of overalls at the airport. Image via InStyle

A pair of Chanel flats, a Burberry trench perfectly dress up a pair of overalls at the airport. Image via InStyle

I may go so far as to say these overalls paired with black sandals and a black trench are quite elegant. As seen in whowhatwear (How to wear black overalls.)

I may go so far as to say these overalls paired with black sandals and a black trench are quite elegant. As seen in whowhatwear (How to wear black overalls.)

Chic overalls with an edge. Image via Le Fashion.

Chic overalls with an edge. Image via Le Fashion.

Stylecaster shows us that some pumps, jewelry and a pretty bag can transform overalls from drab to fab.

Stylecaster shows us that some pumps, jewelry and a pretty bag can transform overalls from drab to fab.

I'm not altogether certain about the Mickey Mouse ears, but I love the black leather overalls and the Valentino shoes. Toss in a bike and Milan and no one will argue their chic-ness. Image via WWD.

I'm not altogether certain about the Mickey Mouse ears, but I love the black leather overalls and the Valentino shoes. Toss in a bike and Milan and no one will argue their chic-ness. Image via WWD.

White on white. Leopard print. Pretty sandals. Say no more. Overalls go ultra chic. Image via Le Fashion.

White on white. Leopard print. Pretty sandals. Say no more. Overalls go ultra chic. Image via Le Fashion.

Are you sold yet, or not so sold?

Embrace your inner bohemian fashionista!

Embrace your inner bohemian fashionista! (Image via we heart it) The Entertaining House

Embrace your inner bohemian fashionista! (Image via we heart it)
The Entertaining House

What is it about Boho (or Hippie Chic) that's just so darned appealing? Is it the style of clothes? Partially - the loose, non-conforming, free-flowing clothes play a role, for sure. But it's the attitude that comes with the style that's truly appealing. There's a let it be, laissez-faire, I don't give a crap, almost flippant attitude that one embraces - a carefree, happy, "let it go" vibe associated with this style...  Is it a style for the workplace or a traditional career? No, but it is one to be embraced when out of the office... on lazy summer days, relaxing weekends, vacations. What happens when you let your hair down and lose the confining, strictly conservative styles that have become synonymous with career, success and perhaps even upbringing? You can breathe - truly, deeply, relaxingly... And you just stop, pardon my French, giving a shit.

As I've gotten older I find that I'm relaxing more - in attitude, in lifestyle and certainly in how I dress. There are certainly those events and times when "buttoning up" is important and expected, but I find myself more and more shunning the confining and the restricting. I'll happily trade the pencil skirt, buttoned up blouse and high heels for a tunic, some well worn jeans and flip flops... even the pearls are making fewer appearances - though I've been known to mix them and boho, and probably forever will! 

Life is too short to constantly be in a state of worry - to worry about impressing others, to worry about what they think of you. Do your own thing. Make your own mark. Smile while you do it. Work hard... relax harder. Embrace your inner bohemian fashionista and toss aside (at least for a short while) all that is confining. Step out of your button-down and buttoned-up outfit... slip out of those heals... toss on a sundress or tunic, some flip-flops and a pair of sunnies... 

Embrace your inner bohemian fashionista! (Image via shopstyle.com) The Entertaining House  

Embrace your inner bohemian fashionista! (Image via shopstyle.com)
The Entertaining House
 

Embrace your inner bohemian fashionista! (Image via Tumblr) The Entertaining House  

Embrace your inner bohemian fashionista! (Image via Tumblr)
The Entertaining House
 

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr
The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr
The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Thefashionholics.com The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Thefashionholics.com
The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr
The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr
The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via Tumblr
The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via moreaseal.com The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via moreaseal.com
The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via This is Glamorous The Entertaining House

Hippie Chic Style. Image via This is Glamorous
The Entertaining House

Create your own Boho Chic look! The Entertaining House

Create your own Boho Chic look!
The Entertaining House

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets Image via 

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets
Image via 

The sleeveless jacket took the streets and runways by storm in 2014. A year later they're here to stay and perhaps hotter than ever. I'm quite certain this fashion "trend" will have enough staying power to become a classic wardrobe staple. We'll be seeing a lot of this look this fall, a time of year that can be a maddening time to try to figure out how to dress as early in the season the calendar may say Fall while the temperatures clearly say Summer. Looking seasonally appropriate while needing to stay cool can often be a challenge. I purchased my first sleeveless jacket (since my LLBean puffer vest from the 1980s that I still wear!) last Spring when I spied a grey sleeveless cargo jacket in a store window. I don't remember how, exactly the mannequin wore the look but I imagined myself wearing it with white jeans, dressier black pants and a classic black sheath dress. I passed by this window for several days en route to my morning gym workout before finally stopping in to try it on. Once on, there was no doubt this jacket would be coming home with me. Subsequently it has been worn with the white jeans, black pants and black dress, perfectly complementing all three items. It's a look that translates from casual to sophisticated and from day to evening. It's versatile. I'm a huge fan of versatility. 

I happen to love the sleeveless look. I love the exposed arms on a warmer day, and the ability to add some layers beneath them once the temperatures start to dip. The layering, in addition to warmth, provides additional texture and color to jazz up any wardrobe. This look suits all ages, heights and body types.  

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets  via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets via

En Vogue (encore) for fall 2015 :: Sleeveless Jackets via

Like the look? Hop on over to Neiman Marcus and Shop Style for a wide variety of selections in all styles and price points. 

How to get that sun-kissed goddess look without stepping out into the sun

How to get that sun kissed goddess look without stepping out into the sun

How to get that sun kissed goddess look without stepping out into the sun

How to get that sun-kissed goddess look without stepping out into the sun. Images from upper left to bottom right: Clarins teint gel, Garnier bb creme, Rimmel bronzer, Jergens foam instant tan, Neutrogena Micro-mist self tanner, LouAna coconut oil.

How to get that sun-kissed goddess look without stepping out into the sun. Images from upper left to bottom right: Clarins teint gel, Garnier bb creme, Rimmel bronzer, Jergens foam instant tan, Neutrogena Micro-mist self tanner, LouAna coconut oil.

There's something about the healthy glow of a tan and yet we know that while tans look healthy they're anything but. My years of basking in the sun with my baby oil and reflector or Bain de Soleil Gel #4- are long gone. Oh the wonderful orange oiliness that made your skin look instantly bronzed and cooked you to a crisp! Oh the terrible things we did! Luckily the deep savage tan look is passe and not at all chic or dapper... think Snooki and her Jersey Shore friends. But, there's something about a lightly golden, sun kissed look. It really does make one look healthier. It evens out skin tone and seems to obliterate those unsightly skin irregularities - the newly emerging spider vein, the odd blemish, freckle and such. And well, at risk of sounding completely vain, it's easier to put on a sundress or shorter skirt when your skin doesn't so much resemble Casper's!  

1. Embrace the Self-tanner!

Self tanners have come a long way. Gone is the Nacho cheese flavor Doritos-hued tint of yesterday. Also gone is the noxious smell. Today's self tanners are much more realistic looking. And when put on properly do make it seems as though you've had a nice long weekend luxuriating on the shore in the Hamptons or Nantucket or Newport. When picking a self tanner it's best to start with a light shade then go darker. Always try a some on a patch of skin that no one will see. Before applying the self tanner do exfoliate. I prefer the sprays, foams and mists. I think they go on more evenly and are easier to rub in. Make sure your skin is thoroughly dry before applying your tanner and keep it on for at least 3 hours before showering. It will need some time to set. 

I adore the Neutrogena Micro Mist. It's easy to apply and massage into the skin and the spray mist helps you reach those hard to get places like the back of your shoulders and your back. I do spray generously for a more golden tan. I do use a darker shade.

I also love the Jergen's self tanning foam. The tinted foam lets you see what you're covering and helps to avoid those nasty "tanner stripes." The foam, because it is tinted, gives your skin a nice hue as your tan sets in. Beware, however, you'll need to wash your hands frequently between applications as the color does start to set quickly. Orange palms are quite the no-no!

Reapply every 3-4 days, or as needed.

2. Coconut oil really is your skin's best friend!

So what's the big deal about this coconut oil? Right? Well, according to my own skin it is a big deal. A very big deal. I have very dry skin. No matter the season my skin is dry. I have tried every single lotion and concoction there is. Some work better than others - I do tend to prefer oils over lotions - but nothing seemed long-lasting enough. And I ran out of my favorite body oil and in a pinch I ran to the cupboard to get the jar of coconut oil that my daughter had used in a homemade salt scrub that she made for me for Mother's Day. I worried about slathering it and smelling like a Pina Colada. But the oil is completely unscented. I dabbed some onto my fingers - a little goes a long way. It was incredible. My skin felt instantly soft and supple and had such a beautiful, organic glow to it. I then began to slather it on all over, including my face. For the past week or so the coconut oil has become part of my regular beauty routine. As soon as I'm out of the shower I start to apply it. 

So now we have the golden tan and the perfectly dewy summer skin.... Let's move on to our faces.

3. Never underestimate the power of a good bb cream!

I adore Garnier's bb cream. Not only does it perfectly cover my skin and really does cover up my really fine lines, but it gives my skin a natural dewy look. I'm not one for matte cosmetics and I have a hard time finding foundations and bb creams that really illuminate the skin. Garnier's does this on all levels. On top of the bb cream I then add just a touch of bronzing gel which gives my skin depth and dimension. Just a touch. I have a Clarin's gel that I love, but it has recently been discontinued. They've reincarnated it, however. Guerlain has their version and I've long been a fan of the Guerlain bronzers.

4. No summertime make up bag should be without a good bronzer.

In college I was introduced to Guerlain's Dore bronzer. Within a few brush strokes my skin took on a golden hue. Once I picked up that brush there was no looking back. I still think Guerlain's products are top notch, but when I found myself in need of more and no where near a good make-up store or department store I had to make do with what there was. CVS was it. I had read (in one of my fashion magazines) the Physician's Formula had a very good and inexpensive bronzer, but I couldn't locate the brand. I did see Rimmel and decided to test it out. I was quite pleasantly surprised, especially given that it was half the price tag of my favorite Guerlain version! A couple brush strokes and we're nearly there... 

5. Don't forget about the sun-kissed cheeks.

No day spent in the sun is without the perfectly sun-kissed cheek. Don't forget to add some pink to them apples. Lately I'm crushing big-time on Nars. My color of choice? The perfectly named Outlaw. A deep rose that complements any tan! Once you've done this add some mascara, lipgloss and you'll look like you've been kissed by the sun without the worry of wrinkles, spots or skin cancer!

 

Keep cool with Indigo; this summer's hottest color

Indigo pillows create a cool and relaxed seating area for an indoor or outdoor picnic. Image via Hello Revolution

Indigo pillows create a cool and relaxed seating area for an indoor or outdoor picnic. Image via Hello Revolution

Look around and you'll see variations of Indigo in many shapes and forms. From clothing to accessories to home decor, this color has been taking the world by storm, and deservedly so. This deep bluish-almost-purplish hue is reminiscent of the ocean, mussels, sea glass and the summer sky at night is at once powerful and calming. These deep blues make us think of cool, deep ocean waters, instantly cooling, calming on a sultry summer day. As indigo bridges the color palette between blue and black with undertones of purple, it is neither, but as versatile as both. In fashion it lends itself equally well to bohemian, casual, classic and more formal lifestyles. In the home it embraces all personalities and styles. Indigo is powerful on its own and pairs well with so many other colors from whites and stones to wheats and yellows and for those who embrace a colorful palette, even oranges and corals. Whether you're looking to add to, freshen up or renovate your home, this color should be on your radar. 

Nothing beats an outdoor shower but an indigo shower kicks it up a notch! Image Camille Styles

Nothing beats an outdoor shower but an indigo shower kicks it up a notch! Image Camille Styles

Urban and Lofty. An indigo wall gives this modern space with clean lines personality and depth. Image via Decor8

Urban and Lofty. An indigo wall gives this modern space with clean lines personality and depth. Image via Decor8

For the rustic sophisticate. Ralph Lauren may be the King of Indigo. This deep denim hue colored wall paint is available at Home Depot. Image via Home Depot.

For the rustic sophisticate. Ralph Lauren may be the King of Indigo. This deep denim hue colored wall paint is available at Home Depot. Image via Home Depot.

A powerful indigo colored door takes center stage. 

A powerful indigo colored door takes center stage. 

Indigo and velvet. A smooth cool that warms any home year round. Image via House Beautiful.

Indigo and velvet. A smooth cool that warms any home year round. Image via House Beautiful.

Though denim is thought to be as an all-American fabric, this indigo colored fabric adds a boho touch to a Scandinavian Home. Image via My Scandinavian Home.

Though denim is thought to be as an all-American fabric, this indigo colored fabric adds a boho touch to a Scandinavian Home. Image via My Scandinavian Home.

Another indigo and velvet pairing. Simple. Sublime. Minimal. Sophisticated. Image via New England Home 

Another indigo and velvet pairing. Simple. Sublime. Minimal. Sophisticated. Image via New England Home 

When your home is a blank canvas opt for some indigo to wake it up and calm it down. Image and fabric via Eclectically Vintage

When your home is a blank canvas opt for some indigo to wake it up and calm it down. Image and fabric via Eclectically Vintage

Indigo stripes and bold and timeless. Image via Ralph Lauren Home

Indigo stripes and bold and timeless. Image via Ralph Lauren Home

Instantly calming, an indigo island adds a bold pop of color to the busiest room of the house. Image via Houzz.

Instantly calming, an indigo island adds a bold pop of color to the busiest room of the house. Image via Houzz.

In the bag :: 6 chic, fun and whimsical bags you will want to carry this summer

In the bag :: 6 chic, stylish and whimsical bags to clutch on to this summer Moyna Bags, New York taxi yellow cab, $59.00

In the bag :: 6 chic, stylish and whimsical bags to clutch on to this summer
Moyna Bags, New York taxi yellow cab, $59.00

I have a thing for handbags. I love them all - large, small and everything in between. But in the summertime when the livin' is easy I want to shed those layers - both literally and figuratively. I want to leave my large carryalls behind - at home, at the office. The big totes are best left at the beach or on the boat. I want to lighten up. And, other than car keys, some money, my driver's licence, lipstick, phone and perhaps a pair of glasses what else could I possibly need? Nothing!! 

Whether I'm headed out to a summertime wedding, dinner at a fine restaurant, a bar, the country club or a clambake on the beach these 6 little clutches will perfect and compliment any outfit from formal to the most casual - from dresses to jeans to shorts. They can be paired with a pair of mules, slingbacks, sandals - even flip flops. These bags are meant to be carried with attitude, with pride... with a smile on your face and a spring in your step! 

J. McLaughlin Bamboo Clutch, $155

J. McLaughlin Bamboo Clutch, $155

Halsbrook Bags, Kayu, Malta Black Strap, $320 

Halsbrook Bags, Kayu, Malta Black Strap, $320 

Moyna Bags, Lobster, $149

Moyna Bags, Lobster, $149

Fornash, Tortoise Clutch, $100

Fornash, Tortoise Clutch, $100

Jonathan Adler, Goldie Straw Clutch, $148

Jonathan Adler, Goldie Straw Clutch, $148

Designing Women :: Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author Bettie Bearden Pardee, Living Newport: Houses, People, Style

Author Bettie Bearden Pardee, Living Newport: Houses, People, Style

It is an honor and a pleasure to have Bettie Bearden Pardee join us here today to share some of her tried and true entertaining tips. I hope you'll pour yourself a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of bubbly, which just happens to be Bettie's favorite, and stay awhile.

Bettie Bearden Pardee is an author, lecturer, garden connoisseur, former magazine editor and television host/producer. Pardee who makes Newport, Rhode Island her home, has written several books on America’s favorite City by the Sea. First published in 1979,  Newport in Flower: A History of Newport’s Horticultural Heritage  was updated and re-issued by Bettie in 2010. In 2004 Bettie received an award for a “commitment to excellence" for Private Newport: At Home and in the Garden by the Horticultural Society of New York. Her most recent coffee table book, Living Newport: House, People, Style, published by Glitterati, gives readers a glimpse into the fabled town where privacy is a treasured asset. 

Living Newport: Houses, People, Style offers up an insider’s view of Newport, Rhode Island which has long been celebrated for its stunning seascapes, famous mansions, Jazz Festival, annual Flower Show and world-class sailing. In Living Newport readers will get a rare glimpse into this fabled town where privacy is a treasured asset offering sneak peeks into the lives of the “old guard” as well as the “new” Newport social set. These tastemakers have the means and the ability to live anywhere but have chosen this perennially-favored City by the Sea. Readers are invited in to see how this exclusive community entertains, decorates, parties, gardens and dresses. 

Bettie has also been a contributing editor at Bon Appetit, hosted an entertaining segment for a 15–part PBS television series, “The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House where she presented a rare glimpse of United States Presidents at home, produced segments for, and appeared on many TV spots including, “Good Morning America” and “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.”

This accomplished hostess and active community leader has chaired many events including the Newport Flower Show, during which she received the Laurel Award for “creative, devoted and effective leadership” from the Preservation Society of Newport County.

Bettie and her husband Jonathan, who was born in Newport, decided to make the illustrious City-By-The-Sea their year-round home. Her design talents and love of landscape were put to use in the design and building of their Newport retreat, Parterre which is the heart of Bettie’s creative endeavors. Parterre’s often-toured gardens have been documented in the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian Institution and are featured in the Garden Club of America’s Gardens, Private and Personal. Suffice it to say, Bettie knows her flowers!

Bettie Bearden Pardee

Bettie Bearden Pardee

What’s the inspiration behind your website? 
The inspiration was my latest book, Living Newport: Houses, People, Style, which is a follow-on to my earlier book, Private Newport: Houses, People, Style.  Both are coffee table books capturing the private side of a very public destination. In each, the focus is on tastemakers who have the ability to live anywhere but choose Newport. We all love to peek behind closed doors and garden gates to see…how these friends entertain during the America’s Cup Trials...dress for “Coaching Weekend”…spend their hours on the water…whose garden turns out the blue ribbon roses at the Newport Flower Show... what decorating instincts inspired an historic boathouse redo. 

Having a website and a blog, Initial Thoughts is a very new experience for me, but I love it and have so much admiration for all the beautiful websites already out there…and those to come. It’s exciting to be part of this new frontier. 

What’s your definition of luxury? 
Anything precious, not easily reproduced, in scant supply…like time. Or an exquisite flower that will only last a few days but prompts an almost overwhelming sense of awe at its exquisiteness.

Roses from Bettie Bearden Pardee's gardens

Roses from Bettie Bearden Pardee's gardens

What’s your definition of style? 

Being comfortable with yourself and not being a slave to trends is important and the true definition of style. At the same time, it behooves us to have the courage and the flair to bring self-expression to our homes, the way we decorate and dress, to the way we entertain. And always appreciating that a sense of appropriateness should be a first consideration. 

Parterre, Newport, Rhode Island Image property Bettie Bearden Pardee

Parterre, Newport, Rhode Island
Image property Bettie Bearden Pardee

What’s your favorite room?

My mud room.  All the things I love and that support my avocation and passion – my garden and flower arranging – are there. Shelves and shelves of books on both subjects, containers galore, baskets, stacks of hats, files for reference on so many topics, award ribbons from the Newport Flower Show, an English prie dieu from my church (a copy of the rush-seated ones at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London) odds and ends (plant markers, tools and accessories, gloves and rubber shoes.) And some of the original vellum sketches for my garden now disguise the front of the freezer door.

Bettie Bearden Pardee in her Newport, Rhode Island mudroom. Image via Meaghan O'Neill, Puddingstone Post 

Bettie Bearden Pardee in her Newport, Rhode Island mudroom. Image via Meaghan O'Neill, Puddingstone Post 

 Describe your entertaining style.

Just thinking about entertaining brings a smile to my face. It’s been a way of life for me for as long as I can remember. In my family, growing up Southern was all about entertaining. If we weren’t planning a party we were enjoying memories of the last one or looking for an excuse for the next. My philosophy about entertaining is that for a very few halcyon hours you provide guests the opportunity to step out of their everyday world, put their cares aside, be tended to and then depart with a memory, a “souvenir of life” that will bring them a sense of well-being when they reflect back upon it. 

Invitations and menus. Images property Bettie Bearden Pardee

Invitations and menus. Images property Bettie Bearden Pardee

Entertaining does take time and energy to pull off, so best to make it fun for yourself from the beginning. My two fail safe fallbacks are 1) a theme, making an occasion of it. That’s another way to help guests feel special; show that you care enough to give this some thought. So for me it’s not just a Saturday lunch in January, but a “French Picnic by the Fireside.” Pique their interest, too, so they can enjoy the anticipation!

Secondly, the guest list…and this is your ace in the hole. Think that through well and your party can almost move along on its own, with all these sundry guests having discovered someone new, or in a fascinating job, or a favorite classmate’s second cousin, or has a shared interest in court tennis (yes, there is such a thing….and the oldest club court is here in Newport.)

Invitations and guestbooks. Image property of Bettie Bearden Pardee

Invitations and guestbooks. Image property of Bettie Bearden Pardee

What was the first party you hosted? 

I was about 8 or 9 years old. I’d created a bedroom tableau under a wisteria pergola (it was a short-lived episode, but it got my feet wet in the “world of design.”) After my friends finished playing on the badminton court, which fronted on the pergola, I’d coerce them into coming over for tea. They didn’t quite understand it, but they were good sports.

Fast forward a few decades and and this is what that experience led to…a bow-tied table...

Bettie Bearden Pardee's elegant and festive Easter table. Images property of Bettie Bearden Pardee

Bettie Bearden Pardee's elegant and festive Easter table. Images property of Bettie Bearden Pardee

What was the most memorable party you hosted?

This past Valentine's Day still stands out in my mind for the happy confluence of circumstances that provided the opportunity to entertain dear family friends that I seldom have a chance to see. It was a sort of “reunion,” into which went a lot of heart and soul. As part of a party weekend that began with 110 friends from North Carolina and a white tie dinner dance at Rosecliff, my husband and I hosted a small dinner at our home for the daughters and sons of my parents’ dearest friends (all now deceased.) There was a table that had old pictures of our parents together, memorabilia, magazine clippings of old ads for a business venture they’d all invested in. 

The decorations were as much fun to put up as they were for a dinner setting and were kept under wraps until dinner was announced; they stopped just short of prom night, and immediately added another layer of fun to the gathering when everyone walked in. Keeping to the informal theme the menu included short ribs as an entrée with tarte tatin for dessert.

Valentine's Day Fete. Image property Bettie Bearden Pardee

Valentine's Day Fete. Image property Bettie Bearden Pardee

Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Pardee. Image property Bettie Bearden Pardee.

Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Pardee. Image property Bettie Bearden Pardee.

You’ve accidentally burnt or dropped the main course and your house is filled w 12 very hungry guests. What do you do?

Just for this eventuality, I long ago identified restaurant resources (not pizza) for a particular dish that they can  produce in quantity (ie. spaghetti Bolognese, the best I’ve tasted outside of Italy, from our friends at Mamma Luisa’s to of course include their sautéed spinach made with lots and lots of parmesan.)

Image property of Bettie Bearden Pardee

Image property of Bettie Bearden Pardee

What 5 to 10 things should we have on hand for a last minute get together with friends. 

At our house that would be…salad fixings, jars of curry sauces (ie. Sharwood’s Red Curry with lemongrass), Jasmine rice, Hubbard’s Virginia salted peanuts, charcuterie selections ( sausages, artichoke hearts, olives, sundried tomatoes) eggs, potatoes… and a variety of ice cream bars and sandwiches. Don’t forget the benefit of a well-stocked freezer!!

What makes a party perfect?

Making guests feel at home. That covers it all -- from a gracious, warm greeting at the door to comfortable furniture ( including small chairs that can easily be moved around) to a home with “flow”( where it’s easy to circulate and not get trapped) to a host and hostess who are relaxed and acting as guests at their own party. And always a little surprise (a funny take-home, switching guests around at dessert, an impromptu cooking demo.) 

Party Prizes! Image via Bettie Bearden Pardee

Party Prizes! Image via Bettie Bearden Pardee

Do you have 1 or 2 entertaining tips for the novice? 

Don’t step outside your comfort zone. Luckily there’s a lot of latitude today in entertaining styles, from the very casual to the extra formal. (My Texas friends have come up with a happy combo that speaks to this point – “denim and diamonds.”) Serve what you know best and are comfortable with; guests would rather be at a chili party, enjoying your family’s winner of a recipe, than trying to gulp down some fancy dish of the moment that you felt obliged to serve.

Lunch in the Garden. Image via Bettie Bearden Pardee

Lunch in the Garden. Image via Bettie Bearden Pardee

What’s on your bedside table? 

Flowers and special thank you notes to enjoy before I turn off my light, a collection of little frames holding those near and dear to me, Burt’s Bees chapstick, notepad and pen, small porcelain boxes (to hold pills.) 
BOOKS: London:The Biography; The Snow Goose; Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias;
 Nancy Lancaster-Her Life, Her World, Her Art; Doodling in French-How to Draw with Joie de Vivre.

Bedside table. Image via Bettie Bearden Pardee

Bedside table. Image via Bettie Bearden Pardee

I never leave home without…

....lipstick (and some attempt at makeup.) It’s prompted by a mantra from my mother that I fondly recall, “put on a little lipstick, sweetie.” To her, that one gesture seemed guaranteed to solve any problem or dilemma that came along.

Bettie Bearden Pardee and her mother. Image property of Bettie Bearden Pardee

Bettie Bearden Pardee and her mother. Image property of Bettie Bearden Pardee

What’s your latest project?
Under consideration…adding a painted striped tent on the ceiling of our master bedroom…which would first require a redefinition of the original as-built design.

I invite you all to visit Bettie’s website, Private Newport, for gardening, styling and entertaining tips as well as regular sneak peeks into the élite world of Newport, Rhode Island. You can also follow Bettie on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Classically styled :: Blue and white create the perfect pairing in any home

Blue and White in the home. Image via Kelly Wearstler

Blue and White in the home.
Image via Kelly Wearstler

Navy blue and white evoke a more masculine and sophisticated atmosphere - a great color choice for a city home or large stately room. Designer: Laura Hay. Lisa Petrole Photography.

Navy blue and white evoke a more masculine and sophisticated atmosphere - a great color choice for a city home or large stately room. Designer: Laura Hay. Lisa Petrole Photography.

Blue evokes feelings of calm, tranquility and peacefulness. It is the color of a cloudless sky and the ocean. It is instantly relaxing. It's also a color that evokes feelings of trust, stability, loyalty, confidence and truth. Stronger, deeper shades equate masculinity and are associated with depth, expertise and stability. It's a color that is used often in the business world. In the home it is viewed as a gender neutral color, appealing to both men and women. Lighter, paler blues evoke a peaceful, insightful setting while deep, bright and electric shades are energizing and exhilerating. Indigo, violet and periwinkle shades seem more mystical and spiritual. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body and is often associated with slowing the mind - making it a perfect bedroom choice. Many experts will advise to steer clear of this color when designing a kitchen or dining room space, but I beg to differ. I'm quite fond of blue in the kitchen and in the dining room, especially when paired with crisp clean white accents.

While in the home blue and white is often associated with coastal living - a seaside cottage in Maine, on Cape Cod, Nantucket or Newport, and indeed is a prefered color choice in this style of decor. But this hue is really so accommodating as it lends itself to many styles and settings from a hip and urban, to elegant, formal and austere and everything in between. Because blue and white is such a crisp and clean combination, they also work well with a host of other colors that can be used to accent the home and highlight the seasons. 

Below are images that I've culled to best represent how perfect blue and white are together.

Blue and white  paired with natural woods, a sisal rug create a comfortable and casual dining area. Image via Better Homes and Gardens

Blue and white  paired with natural woods, a sisal rug create a comfortable and casual dining area. Image via Better Homes and Gardens

The blue grasscloth walls and white trim becomes quite formal and elegant when accented with gold. Image via Tumblr. 

The blue grasscloth walls and white trim becomes quite formal and elegant when accented with gold. Image via Tumblr. 

Blue makes a bold and powerful accent color in this white Norwegian home. Image via NIB.

Blue makes a bold and powerful accent color in this white Norwegian home. Image via NIB.

Ginger jars - quintessentially blue and white - are the perfect accessory to any room. Image via At Home Arkansas.

Ginger jars - quintessentially blue and white - are the perfect accessory to any room. Image via At Home Arkansas.

Blue and white pair up perfectly on the porch or in the garden. Image via My Pink Sketchbook.

Blue and white pair up perfectly on the porch or in the garden. Image via My Pink Sketchbook.

Blue and white accent pieces give a home a classic and timeless feel. Image via T+G Interiors

Blue and white accent pieces give a home a classic and timeless feel. Image via T+G Interiors

Blue and white can also evoke a bohemian island style and carefree life is good attitude! Image via Refunk my Junk.

Blue and white can also evoke a bohemian island style and carefree life is good attitude! Image via Refunk my Junk.

Calming, soothing and nurturing, blue and white make the perfect pairing in a child's bedroom. Image via The Inspired Room

Calming, soothing and nurturing, blue and white make the perfect pairing in a child's bedroom. Image via The Inspired Room

Blue offers the perfect bold pop of color against the clean white background of this modern kitchen. 

Blue offers the perfect bold pop of color against the clean white background of this modern kitchen. 

These blue and white tiles offer color, pattern and pop in contrast to the stark white walls and vanity area. Image via Home Adore. 

These blue and white tiles offer color, pattern and pop in contrast to the stark white walls and vanity area. Image via Home Adore. 

Blue is classic and timeless and traces back to Colonial times. Here blue perfectly complements the sophisticated home's austere staircase.Image via The Foo Dog Blog. 

Blue is classic and timeless and traces back to Colonial times. Here blue perfectly complements the sophisticated home's austere staircase.Image via The Foo Dog Blog. 

A Navy and white kitchen is sophisticated and demure. Image via Brittany Makes.

A Navy and white kitchen is sophisticated and demure. Image via Brittany Makes.

The blue and white banquette offers a modern touch to a country inspired kitchen. Image via Desire to Inspire. Ashley Whittaker Designs. 

The blue and white banquette offers a modern touch to a country inspired kitchen. Image via Desire to Inspire. Ashley Whittaker Designs. 

A blue reminiscent of the sea offers a calming effect in a space that is often high energy. Image via Charleston Home + Design Magazine. 

A blue reminiscent of the sea offers a calming effect in a space that is often high energy. Image via Charleston Home + Design Magazine. 

Blue and white chinoiserie accented by crisp white and rich woods create a soothing, elegant bedroom. Image via The Glam Pad. 

Blue and white chinoiserie accented by crisp white and rich woods create a soothing, elegant bedroom. Image via The Glam Pad. 

Clean lines and modern patterns and prints make this blue and white combination at home in the country or concrete jungle. 

Clean lines and modern patterns and prints make this blue and white combination at home in the country or concrete jungle. 

New uses for old things :: The American flag is the consummate home accessory

Patriotic, beautiful, bold - The American Flag is the perfect accent piece for your home

Patriotic, beautiful, bold - The American Flag is the perfect accent piece for your home

As Memorial Day quickly approaches we become Patriotic. We'll celebrate with hints of red, white and blue. But why must we celebrate and enjoy our flag during the summertime in May and July? Why can't we celebrate her throughout the year?

I'm partial to our flag for all that she is and all that she stands for - a symbol of freedom, beauty and strength. She embodies all that we have, all that we are and all that we can be. 

She is magnificent when she billows gently in the wind, hanging from the roof of a porch. She is equally as beautiful on the side of an old barn or garage  Our flag is not only design inspiration, but design perfection and is the perfect accompaniment to your decor no matter your style - nautical, urban, sophisticated or casual and relaxed. Framed or unframed our flag takes center stage, capturing our attention - captivating us. She's dramatic. She makes a statement. 

Old or new, large or small, framed or unframed there are so many ways to add color and substance to your home decor with the American Flag. 

Images: via Apartment Therapy, Barclay Butarra , Thomas Hammel, Tumblr, Janette Mallory Interior Design, Flag and Banner,  Providence Ltd Design, Country Living, and Pinterest

Praise for the little (white) sneaker

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

Style is not just about how clothes look on a person, but how they feel; it's about form and function. When someone is uncomfortable it shows and they then tend to look awkward. Whether it's an ill-fitting undergarment, pair of shoes or pants that might not outwardly look wrong, the moment one feels uncomfortable all sense of "style" is gone. Discomfort leads to awkwardness which is never chic. Shoes are quite often the greatest culprit.  Uncomfortable shoe pain is the worst. There's a shoe for every moment. Flats,  kitten heels and low sling-backs are great for the office. A more serious heel is perfect for a more formal affair, a night out on the town, at a restaurant, or a party where you know you'll not need to spend too much time on your feet. For those times when you're on your feet all day - sightseeing, walking to work or running errands - and for those who work in more creative environments, we sing the praises of the sneaker. And, as with every other article of clothing much depends on the pairing. 

I've had a long history-slash-love-affair with sneakers over the years for fashion and fitness. I remember wanting a pair of Adidas and how terribly disappointed I my mother came home with a generic pair that had 4 stripes along the sides instead of 3. The next pair proved to be the real thing. The iconic Stan Smiths. Classic. Clean. Crisp. White. I wore them with everything from shorts to skirts and sundresses to my school uniforms. From there we graduated to Nike. The swoosh had made it's grand debut and was all the rage for both stylish and fitness reasons. I remember first stepping into a pair. I felt like I was jumping on a cloud. From Stan to the Swoosh we then moved on to the Ultimate Preppy Tennis Shoe. Though no one I know actually wore their Tretorns for tennis. The little triangle on the sides of the canvas sneakers came initially in traditional white, navy and red. Soon, though they were available in a myriad of colors - pastel pinks, yellows, greens and even plaids. The terry cloth insole gave these sneaks their distinctive comfort. (Tretorn has since tried for a comeback but it's stiff and uncomfortable and the lines aren't at all the same. Alas, their reincarnation did not pass the test.) I wore my Tretorns with my Polo shirts. I had a collection of them with more colors than the rainbow, due to the fact - I am quite certain - that Ralph Lauren was one of my father's clients. In those days we wore our Polos layered, multi-colored, collars popped. Naturally. And while the Tretorn never fell from grace - I still have the last of my original pairs, I had a brief affair with the all-white K-Swiss, and then later, as embarrassed I am to admit, the Reebok which was a sensation delivered to us from across the Pond. I will happily tell you I never owned any but the white and no high-tops in either color ever made it into my closet. (The stirrup pants I had did plenty mde up for that fact, and are probably worthy of a story of their own.) I don't remember much past the Reeboks and am glad that my relationship with them was very short lived. Once I graduated from college and was forced to grow up, my shoes did as well. Ballet flats, loafers and driving moccasins became the comfort shoes of choice.

Lately I've been doing a lot of walking around - city walking. The aforementioned aren't always the most comfortable when you're on your feet and walking around all day long. And I started to notice the sneaker once again. I started noticing that all sorts of well dressed people were wearing sneakers. Europeans do all the time, and they wear them well. We've not always been able to pull that look off. But we're starting to and we're starting to wear them well, whether little white sneaker, running shoe, tennis shoe or the casual canvas or leather slip on. And so I recently bought myself a pair - a pair of faux snake skin slip on leather ones that seem to work well with leggings or jeans. But then I wondered, am I too old to carry this off? Nearing the end of my 40s am I supposed to dress a certain way?  Or is style all about attitude? Are there rules as to who can and cannot wear a little tennis shoe? Or are these rules meant to be broken? I happen to love the look. I happen to love the idea of being comfortable. I happen to like breaking the rules as well. Check out the images below and tell me what you think.

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

In praise of the little (white) shoe. Image

In praise of the little (white) shoe. Image

In praise of the little (white) shoe. Image

In praise of the little (white) shoe. Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker

In praise of the little (white) sneaker

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker. Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker - Image

In praise of the little (white) sneaker - Image

Bradley Cooper rocks his little (white) sneakers. Image

Bradley Cooper rocks his little (white) sneakers. Image

Below the last pair of my beloved original Tretorns. These shoes are a part of my personal history!

In praise of the little (white) sneaker

In praise of the little (white) sneaker

Below my latest comfort shoe acquisition. These comfortable, stylish slip-ons come from The Gap.  These are perfect for long days of walking around and standing. They're more comfortable than my ballet flats - younger and hipper to boot. And so the question still stands. Am I too old for these shoes?

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10 Reasons why the tunic is a must for every wardrobe

10 Reasons why the tunic is a must for every wardrobe. Image via Show My Your MuMu

10 Reasons why the tunic is a must for every wardrobe. Image via Show My Your MuMu

I happen to adore tunics. I own many of them in all sorts of different styles - long, short, dress, casual. It seems that with each and every year that passes new ones appear in my closet and yet the older ones never get tossed aside -they really are timeless. The definition of tunic is fairly loose - According to Merriam Webster a tunic is: "a loose piece of clothing usually without sleeves that reaches to the knees and that was worn by men and women in ancient Greece and Rome; a long shirt worn by women that reaches to or just below the hips or a long jacket with a high collar worn by soldiers, police officers, etc." 

For this reason there are many styles that can be described as a tunic. Below are 10 reasons we think it is a must for every wardrobe. 

1. Tunics are timeless.
2. They are universally flattering. They look well on everyone - whether tall, short, thick or thin. 3. The tunic is versatile as it can be worn alone or over a pair of chic pants, jeans or leggings.
4. Tunics can be dressed up or down and they're available in a multitude of styles to best complement your wardrobe.
5. Whether you're tastes as classic, boho, preppy or urban chic, there's a tunic just for you.
6. Tunics look well on any age group from 20 to 60 and beyond.
7. Tunics transition well from night to day and from season to season.
8. Tunics are forgiving - They won't feel too tight when you've decided to have that tiramisu after your nice dinner out.
9.  Because of their versatility and comfort tunics make a great travel garment.
10. Tunics are widely available at every price point.

Nothing says peace love and rock and roll like a tunic! Image via Like a Princess by Kuka

Nothing says peace love and rock and roll like a tunic! Image via Like a Princess by Kuka

A bit boho chic with a classic twist. This is one of those tunics that transitions well when worn with a pair of gladiator sandals or little white sneakers to a pair of  sophisticated slingbacks or mules  paired with an elegant purse. Feel free to dress this one up or down. Originally found on Cleobella. 

A bit boho chic with a classic twist. This is one of those tunics that transitions well when worn with a pair of gladiator sandals or little white sneakers to a pair of  sophisticated slingbacks or mules  paired with an elegant purse. Feel free to dress this one up or down. Originally found on Cleobella. 

This preppy casual tunic is a perfect weekend dress. Via JCrew.

This preppy casual tunic is a perfect weekend dress. Via JCrew.

This white tunic is refined, simple, elegant and has a classic twist. From work to evening this tunic transitions perfectly. Image via Devon Baer Design. 

This white tunic is refined, simple, elegant and has a classic twist. From work to evening this tunic transitions perfectly. Image via Devon Baer Design. 

Loose fitting, casual and elegant, this linen tunic is perfectly suited to the more mature woman.  Image via Flax Designs

Loose fitting, casual and elegant, this linen tunic is perfectly suited to the more mature woman.  Image via Flax Designs

Simple, classic and elegant this tunic dress is as at ease over a pair of well tailored black pants as it is on its own. Image via Vogue UK.

Simple, classic and elegant this tunic dress is as at ease over a pair of well tailored black pants as it is on its own. Image via Vogue UK.

Perfect on a hot summer's day whether walking to work or a  stroll along the avenue this simple white linen tunic complements any age and flatters every figure.

Perfect on a hot summer's day whether walking to work or a  stroll along the avenue this simple white linen tunic complements any age and flatters every figure.

This tunic from The Daily Chic is hip and stylish. Worn with thigh high boots this tunic is also quite edgy. 

This tunic from The Daily Chic is hip and stylish. Worn with thigh high boots this tunic is also quite edgy. 

This simple white tunic comes to us from Emerson Fry. Worn over full pants and with heels the tunic has a very urban feel to it, yet alone it could be worn at the country or the beach. (Tunic is no longer available.)

This simple white tunic comes to us from Emerson Fry. Worn over full pants and with heels the tunic has a very urban feel to it, yet alone it could be worn at the country or the beach. (Tunic is no longer available.)

The little black dress in a tunic. Worn over jeans. Chic and hip come together via Brit+Co.

The little black dress in a tunic. Worn over jeans. Chic and hip come together via Brit+Co.

CP Shades! I haven't heard about them since the mid 1980's. Well, they're back and with this oversized and relaxed tunic it seems they're as stylish as ever. (Image via Shop Pretty Mommy.)

CP Shades! I haven't heard about them since the mid 1980's. Well, they're back and with this oversized and relaxed tunic it seems they're as stylish as ever. (Image via Shop Pretty Mommy.)

This simple tunic dress has a relaxed elegance and serves as the perfect cocktail or evening dress. Image originally via Glamour UK.

This simple tunic dress has a relaxed elegance and serves as the perfect cocktail or evening dress. Image originally via Glamour UK.

Shop for tunics at the following stores, Banana Republic, Lilly Pulitzer, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, J.mcLaughlin, J Crew and many more. 

Elegant, casual, timeless :: Why wicker furniture isn't for sissies

In this image of a Connecticut home featured in Architectural Digest, Miles Red creates a handsome and informal seating area using wicker furniture that once belonged to tobacco heir Doris Duke.  

In this image of a Connecticut home featured in Architectural Digest, Miles Red creates a handsome and informal seating area using wicker furniture that once belonged to tobacco heir Doris Duke.  

With wicker, it seems, that you either love or hate it. I happen to adore it and I find that it lends itself so perfectly to so many decorating styles. I do love it for its casual, coastal and relaxed feel, and yet it lends itself so perfectly to the most sophisticated and formal of spaces from from traditional to modern - from Island Boho chic, to British Colonial to the relaxed elegance of Ralph Lauren. Wicker is a term that refers more to the style of woven furniture than it does to the materials used. Rattan, a natural grasslike fiber,  is another term used to describe wicker. Wicker furniture is also widely available in synthetic materials which is preferable for those outdoor pieces that are exposed to the elements.  From Sister Parish to West Elm, from Hubert de Givenchy to Nate Berkus, wicker is truly timeless. I think wicker is often misperceived and seems not to be taken seriously enough - Those who've not been properly informed too often think of it as frilly or juvenile as opposed to strong, elegant and bold. I'd like to change people's minds and erase those preconceived notions and give wicker the recognition and respect it deserves. 

Mary Macdonald uses wicker to create an elegant and yet relaxed seating area with a tropical feel. 

Mary Macdonald uses wicker to create an elegant and yet relaxed seating area with a tropical feel. 

Master of style, Hubert de Givenchy utilised wicker in this understated, casual space. 

Master of style, Hubert de Givenchy utilised wicker in this understated, casual space. 

Wicker chairs surround the dining table at Bunny Williams' pool house in her Litchfield, Connecticut home, creating a rustic and casual yet elegant space. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Wicker chairs surround the dining table at Bunny Williams' pool house in her Litchfield, Connecticut home, creating a rustic and casual yet elegant space. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Wicker Furniture sits elegantly and casually on the porch of Bunny Williams' pool house. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan. 

Wicker Furniture sits elegantly and casually on the porch of Bunny Williams' pool house. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan. 

Ralph Lauren, master of relaxed elegance showcases this welcoming wicker bed in his Ralph Lauren Home line. 

Ralph Lauren, master of relaxed elegance showcases this welcoming wicker bed in his Ralph Lauren Home line. 

West Elm gives wicker a modern touch embracing it with bold colors and clean lines.

West Elm gives wicker a modern touch embracing it with bold colors and clean lines.

Remodelista introduced readers to these incredible IKEA wicker lamp shades.

Remodelista introduced readers to these incredible IKEA wicker lamp shades.

Wicker is the perfect material in this Queensland houseboat, home of designer Katie Gallie as featured in Australian Home. 

Wicker is the perfect material in this Queensland houseboat, home of designer Katie Gallie as featured in Australian Home. 

A simple wicker tray is just the right touch to create a gentle coastal inspired vignette.

A simple wicker tray is just the right touch to create a gentle coastal inspired vignette.

Nate Berkus is another designer to favor wicker.  These delightful chairs have a commanding and yet relaxed presence. These are, perhaps, wicker's tribute to the iconic Eames chair. Modern, classic, simple and sophisticated. 

Nate Berkus is another designer to favor wicker.  These delightful chairs have a commanding and yet relaxed presence. These are, perhaps, wicker's tribute to the iconic Eames chair. Modern, classic, simple and sophisticated. 

Barclay Butera, known for his elegant coastal style utilizes wicker to create casual yet dramatic spaces. Image via Traditional Home

Barclay Butera, known for his elegant coastal style utilizes wicker to create casual yet dramatic spaces. Image via Traditional Home

HomeBunch features this kitchens with multi textures and layers where wicker, marble and stainless steel make a perfect pairing. 

HomeBunch features this kitchens with multi textures and layers where wicker, marble and stainless steel make a perfect pairing. 

It should be no surprise to readers that Tory Burch should have an elegant wicker filled room in her elegant and beachy Southampton home. Image via Vogue. 

It should be no surprise to readers that Tory Burch should have an elegant wicker filled room in her elegant and beachy Southampton home. Image via Vogue. 

This House Beautiful image pairs old and new to create a united and yet eclectic look that transitions yesterday's styles with today's functionality.  

This House Beautiful image pairs old and new to create a united and yet eclectic look that transitions yesterday's styles with today's functionality.  

24 hours of design in New York; a grand party and DIFFA's Dining by Design

Last week, on a beautiful sunny, but oh so chilly afternoon I headed into the city to celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of Modenus, to see many of my design friends and to attend press day at The Architectural Digest Home Design Show. 

The first event I attended was the Anniversary Celebration for Modenus which was held at the Press Lounge, described by The Gothamist as "Heaven in Hell's Kitchen," overlooking the magnificent Hudson River. (If you remember I went to London in September of 2013 as a member of BlogTour which was sponsored by Modenus and numerous other companies.) Modenus is a fascinating yet simple notion like no other. It serves as a one-stop shop for all things related to design. It serves to connect clients and designers, manufacturers with consumers, and even bloggers with bloggers. The Modenus website offers a beautifully curated collection of products and brands from around the world, and shares anything that strikes their fancy with the hopes that it will also strike yours.  For more visit them here.

And so, on a cold but spectacular crystal clear evening we set out to celebrate and congratulate Veronika Miller, founder of Modenus, as we sipped prosecco and nibbled on bread and cheeses and charcuterie on and caught up with old friends that we don't get to see nearly often enough. 

The Press Lounge sits atop the 148ink hotel and offers the most spectacular sweeping views of Manhattan. Image property of The Entertaining House.

The Press Lounge sits atop the 148ink hotel and offers the most spectacular sweeping views of Manhattan. Image property of The Entertaining House.

The Press Lounge bar was the perfect setting for a party that celebrates design and designers.  Image property of The Entertaining House.

The Press Lounge bar was the perfect setting for a party that celebrates design and designers.  Image property of The Entertaining House.

The wine and prosecco flowed into glasses and flutes as we celebrated late into the night at the Press Lounge. Image property of The Entertaining House.

The wine and prosecco flowed into glasses and flutes as we celebrated late into the night at the Press Lounge. Image property of The Entertaining House.

Despite the cold and windy temperatures outside, the rooftop bar was warm and inviting as the sun started to set over the Hudson River. Image property of The Entertaining House.

Despite the cold and windy temperatures outside, the rooftop bar was warm and inviting as the sun started to set over the Hudson River. Image property of The Entertaining House.

View from the top of the Press Lounge. Image property of The Entertaining House.

View from the top of the Press Lounge. Image property of The Entertaining House.

"Prosecco and the City" - Atop the ink48 Hotel in the Press Lounge. Image property of The Entertaining House.

"Prosecco and the City" - Atop the ink48 Hotel in the Press Lounge. Image property of The Entertaining House.

Some of the guests admiring the scenic views from The Press Lounge. Image property of The Entertaining House.

Some of the guests admiring the scenic views from The Press Lounge. Image property of The Entertaining House.

Modenus Founder Veronika Miller and Leanne Wood Newman of Flying Camel Advertising, Design & PR.  Image property of The Entertaining House.

Modenus Founder Veronika Miller and Leanne Wood Newman of Flying Camel Advertising, Design & PR.  Image property of The Entertaining House.

Everything about New York, including the Press Lounge, is more magical after dark. Image property of The Entertaining House.

Everything about New York, including the Press Lounge, is more magical after dark. Image property of The Entertaining House.

The following morning Modenus hosted Marys & Mimosas for members of the press and trade to kick off the events at The Architectural Digest Home Show. (Which I shared in Kind Finds from The Architectural Digest Home Show.)  

As much as I look forward to the Architectural Digest show each year,  DIFFA's Dining by Design is my sweet spot. (DIFFA stands for design industry foundation fighting Aids.) Here tables table are created by various top designers and vary from simple and minimalistic to lavish and opulent, outrageous and whimsical - a theatrical backdrop created on a dining room  table. 

This year DIFFA moved out of it's old home in Pier 94 and into its new one right next door at Pier 92. I loved the new location. It was bright and spacial. The tables, for the most-part, didn't wow me this year quite as they had in the past. Although I and many of my peers found it to be a little lackluster, there were a handful of absolutely incredible tables that stood out for their creativity, beauty and presence. Some of my favorites are below. 

Despite the big white flakes that fell all around the harbor, Stacy Garcia's table showed the hope and promise that Spring was just around the corner. Image courtesy Architectural Digest.

Despite the big white flakes that fell all around the harbor, Stacy Garcia's table showed the hope and promise that Spring was just around the corner. Image courtesy Architectural Digest.

Stacy Garcias' whimsical ode to spring is like an invitation to her garden table. Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Stacy Garcias' whimsical ode to spring is like an invitation to her garden table. Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Whimsical garden creatures artfully set the stage in Stacy Garcia's ode to spring.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Whimsical garden creatures artfully set the stage in Stacy Garcia's ode to spring.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

The new York Design Center's Marks & Frantz pay a tribute to old Hollywood with a touch of drama and glamour. Here we feel as though we've been given a sneak peak behind the curtain. The setting was opulent and magical. Image courtesy Architectural Digest.

The new York Design Center's Marks & Frantz pay a tribute to old Hollywood with a touch of drama and glamour. Here we feel as though we've been given a sneak peak behind the curtain. The setting was opulent and magical. Image courtesy Architectural Digest.

I loved this festive table by Hunt Slonem for Kravet. Slonem is known for Neo-expressionist paintings of exotic animals and tropical plant life. Here art is beautifully translated into into a collection of fun and whimsical fabrics, papers and carpets.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

I loved this festive table by Hunt Slonem for Kravet. Slonem is known for Neo-expressionist paintings of exotic animals and tropical plant life. Here art is beautifully translated into into a collection of fun and whimsical fabrics, papers and carpets.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

These wonderful plates by Slonem for Kravet would look lovely on my Easter table!  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

These wonderful plates by Slonem for Kravet would look lovely on my Easter table!  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Slonem for Kravet. Plate detail.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Slonem for Kravet. Plate detail.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Kravet had two tables this year. This one, bright and happy, brings us from the soft, cool springtime colors to the warmer, bolder colors of the tropics and nature in full bloom in this inviting table setting.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Kravet had two tables this year. This one, bright and happy, brings us from the soft, cool springtime colors to the warmer, bolder colors of the tropics and nature in full bloom in this inviting table setting.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Detail of the Kravet table.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Detail of the Kravet table.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Corey Damen Jenkins "Branches Out" with Beacon Hill Designs. Inspired by the organic beauty of Rio de Janeiro this table's careful and intricate setting plays homage to the city's sophisticated and edgy design combined with that of the bohemian.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Corey Damen Jenkins "Branches Out" with Beacon Hill Designs. Inspired by the organic beauty of Rio de Janeiro this table's careful and intricate setting plays homage to the city's sophisticated and edgy design combined with that of the bohemian.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Intricate texture and color create a sophisticated and elaborate setting in Jenkins's design for Beacon Hill.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Intricate texture and color create a sophisticated and elaborate setting in Jenkins's design for Beacon Hill.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Detail of a lamp used in "Branching Out" by Jenkins that celebrates the natural influences inspired by Rio de Janeiro.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Detail of a lamp used in "Branching Out" by Jenkins that celebrates the natural influences inspired by Rio de Janeiro.  Image property of Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Always sublime, always elegant, the Hermès’s table, under an ornate equine decoration, featured the brand’s new tableware line, Voyage en Ikat. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Always sublime, always elegant, the Hermès’s table, under an ornate equine decoration, featured the brand’s new tableware line, Voyage en Ikat. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Hermes DIFFA table Detail. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Hermes DIFFA table Detail. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan.

The folks at Ralph Lauren never disappoint. This year the brand celebrates its new line of paints in with bright, cheery and colorful florals. Image via Architectural Digest.

The folks at Ralph Lauren never disappoint. This year the brand celebrates its new line of paints in with bright, cheery and colorful florals. Image via Architectural Digest.

Details of the Ralph Lauren table. Photo credit Linda Holt, Linda Holt Interiors.

Details of the Ralph Lauren table. Photo credit Linda Holt, Linda Holt Interiors.

Detail of the Ralph Lauren DIFFA table. Photo credit Linda Holt. Linda Holt Interiors.

Detail of the Ralph Lauren DIFFA table. Photo credit Linda Holt. Linda Holt Interiors.

This spectacular table created by the folks at Architectural Digest takes homage to the  Château de Groussay which was built in 1815 but underwent an expansion in 1952 that included the addition of several follies on the grounds. The Tartar Tent, constructed in 1960 resembles a 1781 structure at Drottningholm Palace in Sweden. Image via Architectural Digest. 

This spectacular table created by the folks at Architectural Digest takes homage to the  Château de Groussay which was built in 1815 but underwent an expansion in 1952 that included the addition of several follies on the grounds. The Tartar Tent, constructed in 1960 resembles a 1781 structure at Drottningholm Palace in Sweden. Image via Architectural Digest. 

Detail of The Architectural Digest table for DIFFA's Dining by Design. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan.

Detail of The Architectural Digest table for DIFFA's Dining by Design. Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan.

I hope you enjoyed this brief sneak peak into the wonderful world of DIFFA's Dining by Design. I hope you will consider attending next year. The event's dates will be March 17-20, 2016.

Kind Finds from The 2015 Architectural Digest Home Design Show

It's become the much anticipated yearly event. Once a year, during the third week in March, The Architectural Digest Home Design Show sponsored by Architectural Digest and The New York Times, take over pier 94 overlooking the Hudson River. Members of the trade and homeowners flock to this great event to learn about the latest and greatest in home design and technology - it's where art, science and technology come together for the home. 

This year color and design seemed to take front and center stage in all areas of the home from kitchens and baths to home accessories. Having attended for several years now, I've noted subtle changes from year to year, some for the better, some not. Last year, I left a bit disappointed and felt the event had turned more into a kitchen and bath show. This year, I have seen notable improvements in the layout of the show making the floor much easier to navigate - from the placement of the coat check to additional seating for weary feet. While the kitchens seemed to take center stage, I was glad to see more furniture again this year. As always I love the MADE section - the smaller artisans, and the addition of smaller home accessories into the mix. 

Below is just a sampling of some of the many and varied finds. 

Vetro Vero always captures my attention. Sleek, elegant and sublime, from stemware to barware, to vases and pitchers, these hand-blown, modern Venetian designs by Michael Schunke and Josie Gluck are stunning.  Find modern Venetian style goblets, functional wine decanters, stemware, and inspired home decor in bright jewel tones and smokey neutral colorways. Vetro Vero hand blown glass designs include Flat Pitchers, color-block Incalmo Vases, graceful Tapered Bottles and functional Flower Vases have garnered attention from such publications as Veranda, Elle Decor, Vogue, Traditional Home, Brides to name just a few. For more visit their website. 

Vetro Vero always captures my attention. Sleek, elegant and sublime, from stemware to barware, to vases and pitchers, these hand-blown, modern Venetian designs by Michael Schunke and Josie Gluck are stunning.  Find modern Venetian style goblets, functional wine decanters, stemware, and inspired home decor in bright jewel tones and smokey neutral colorways. Vetro Vero hand blown glass designs include Flat Pitchers, color-block Incalmo Vases, graceful Tapered Bottles and functional Flower Vases have garnered attention from such publications as Veranda, Elle Decor, Vogue, Traditional Home, Brides to name just a few. For more visit their website

Hand-blown Venetian glass decanter detail by Vetro Vero

Hand-blown Venetian glass decanter detail by Vetro Vero

Handblown Venetian stemware by Vetro Vero

Handblown Venetian stemware by Vetro Vero

This magnificent agate table immediately caught my attention. It comes to us from The Matthew Studios collection which is inspired by nature and incorporates material that deeply resonate with founder, Katherine Wildt O'Brien, such as rough quartz crystal, semi-precious gems, exotic skins and lucite. For more information on this and other agate tables, please visit her website.  

This magnificent agate table immediately caught my attention. It comes to us from The Matthew Studios collection which is inspired by nature and incorporates material that deeply resonate with founder, Katherine Wildt O'Brien, such as rough quartz crystal, semi-precious gems, exotic skins and lucite. For more information on this and other agate tables, please visit her website.  

Pendant light from Hubbardton Forge, the oldest and largest commercial forge in the country had so many wonderful designs this year. The company was founded in 1974 -  Watergate was the big scandal, The Sting was the box-office hit, and artists and entrepreneurs George Chandler and Reed Hampton fired up their first blacksmithing forge in a drafty old Vermont barn. With anvils, swage blocks, trip hammers and other tools from a bygone era, the two set out to revive the nearly forgotten craft of hand-forging raw metal into functional art. Their innovative designs became recognized for their simplicity and integrity. From these humble beginnings, one of the most respected brands in the industry was born. Today, Hubbardton Forge is the oldest and largest commercial forge in the country with a team of over 200 people creating hand-forged lighting of timeless beauty and artistry…an American wrought-iron renaissance. For more and to view their entire product line please visit their website. 

Pendant light from Hubbardton Forge, the oldest and largest commercial forge in the country had so many wonderful designs this year. The company was founded in 1974 -  Watergate was the big scandal, The Sting was the box-office hit, and artists and entrepreneurs George Chandler and Reed Hampton fired up their first blacksmithing forge in a drafty old Vermont barn.

With anvils, swage blocks, trip hammers and other tools from a bygone era, the two set out to revive the nearly forgotten craft of hand-forging raw metal into functional art. Their innovative designs became recognized for their simplicity and integrity. From these humble beginnings, one of the most respected brands in the industry was born.

Today, Hubbardton Forge is the oldest and largest commercial forge in the country with a team of over 200 people creating hand-forged lighting of timeless beauty and artistry…an American wrought-iron renaissance. For more and to view their entire product line please visit their website. 

Hubbardton Forge

Hubbardton Forge

Carolyn Cartwright creates her lamps in the tradition of the Venetian masters, with a more modern approach. She creates her lamps to give focus and expression to a space. Her aim is to make objects today that will become the heirlooms of tomorrow. Her lamps are spectacular in color and shape. For more information please visit her website.

Carolyn Cartwright creates her lamps in the tradition of the Venetian masters, with a more modern approach. She creates her lamps to give focus and expression to a space. Her aim is to make objects today that will become the heirlooms of tomorrow. Her lamps are spectacular in color and shape. For more information please visit her website.

I loved this lamp. I don't know who the designer is but it was on display with The Lacquer Company. 

I loved this lamp. I don't know who the designer is but it was on display with The Lacquer Company. 

I'm madly in love with everything about The Lacquer Company. Founded in 2008 by James Lowther, the designs are clean, modern and sensible yet retain the English influences from his first job at Colefax & Fowler in London. Lowther's design projects mix classic and modern elements and can be found in numerous apartments, townhouses and beach houses in Manhattan and the Hamptons.  Lowther bought his first piece of lacquer when travelling in Burma fifteen years ago; a century-old betel box in burnt orange that, even today, remains one of his favorite things. It was from that experience that he learned about the lacquer process and began to appreciate the patience, skill and attention to detail that goes into the finest examples. Lowther has partnered with such talent as Rita Konig, Martin Brudnizki and Steven Gambrel who have collaborated on the design. For more please visit the company website. 

I'm madly in love with everything about The Lacquer Company. Founded in 2008 by James Lowther, the designs are clean, modern and sensible yet retain the English influences from his first job at Colefax & Fowler in London. Lowther's design projects mix classic and modern elements and can be found in numerous apartments, townhouses and beach houses in Manhattan and the Hamptons. 

Lowther bought his first piece of lacquer when travelling in Burma fifteen years ago; a century-old betel box in burnt orange that, even today, remains one of his favorite things. It was from that experience that he learned about the lacquer process and began to appreciate the patience, skill and attention to detail that goes into the finest examples.

Lowther has partnered with such talent as Rita Konig, Martin Brudnizki and Steven Gambrel who have collaborated on the design. For more please visit the company website

LAFCO New York is among one of my most favorite fragrance companies. LAFCO (Luxury Articles and Fragrance Company) was established over 20 years ago when founder, Jon Bresler, quit his job as a lawyer to pursue his passion for body care. In 1992, Jon began travelling across Europe, foraging for hard-to-find specialty items and learning about how they were made. He supplemented his research with a self-imposed apprenticeship to study the nuances of alchemy and perfumery. As Jon grew fascinated with the rich histories of these disciplines, he envisioned LAFCO as a company that would actively participate in their preservation.  LAFCO grew as Jon trained with internationally renowned creators of natural skin care and perfumes, and eventually imported their entire collections. He carefully maintained the spirit and integrity of every line as he brought them together to recreate an authentic European apothecary experience in his native New York. Products range from soaps (both hard and liquid) to candles and diffusers, to hand cream. Using only all-natural ingredients, these products emit the most wonderful, natural and clean fragrances that are neither too potent or too mild. WIth stores in New York City and Dallas, you can also find their products at various boutique store across the country, as well as on line. The packaging is as exquisite as the products and will enhance any home. For more visit their website. 

LAFCO New York is among one of my most favorite fragrance companies. LAFCO (Luxury Articles and Fragrance Company) was established over 20 years ago when founder, Jon Bresler, quit his job as a lawyer to pursue his passion for body care. In 1992, Jon began travelling across Europe, foraging for hard-to-find specialty items and learning about how they were made. He supplemented his research with a self-imposed apprenticeship to study the nuances of alchemy and perfumery. As Jon grew fascinated with the rich histories of these disciplines, he envisioned LAFCO as a company that would actively participate in their preservation.  LAFCO grew as Jon trained with internationally renowned creators of natural skin care and perfumes, and eventually imported their entire collections. He carefully maintained the spirit and integrity of every line as he brought them together to recreate an authentic European apothecary experience in his native New York. Products range from soaps (both hard and liquid) to candles and diffusers, to hand cream. Using only all-natural ingredients, these products emit the most wonderful, natural and clean fragrances that are neither too potent or too mild. WIth stores in New York City and Dallas, you can also find their products at various boutique store across the country, as well as on line. The packaging is as exquisite as the products and will enhance any home. For more visit their website

More products from LAFCO 

More products from LAFCO 

Ping Pong for the luxury set. This gorgeous glass ping pong table designed by Calma e Gesso brings the game to a whole new level. For those seeking to bring recreation out of the basement and playroom this may be what you're looking for. Grace and elegance, clean modern lines make this luxury item perfect for the home for those who work hard and play hard. Until now, one may not place the words sophistication and ping pong together in the same sentence. How much will this set you back? Just a cool $30K!

Ping Pong for the luxury set. This gorgeous glass ping pong table designed by Calma e Gesso brings the game to a whole new level. For those seeking to bring recreation out of the basement and playroom this may be what you're looking for. Grace and elegance, clean modern lines make this luxury item perfect for the home for those who work hard and play hard. Until now, one may not place the words sophistication and ping pong together in the same sentence. How much will this set you back? Just a cool $30K!

For more information on Calma e Gesso please visit their  website

For more information on Calma e Gesso please visit their  website

Smeg is an Italian company has captured my heart and attention. What beautiful design and such graceful looking products ranging from tea kettles to blenders and mixers to ovens to beverage coolers. I will write more on them at a later time. 

Smeg is an Italian company has captured my heart and attention. What beautiful design and such graceful looking products ranging from tea kettles to blenders and mixers to ovens to beverage coolers. I will write more on them at a later time. 

At House of Rohl you'll find that authentically crafted faucets and fixtures are more than just form and function. They are truly pieces of art made by artisans using skillsets that have been passed on from generation to generation. Each fixture celebrates craftsmanship, heritage and authenticity.

At House of Rohl you'll find that authentically crafted faucets and fixtures are more than just form and function. They are truly pieces of art made by artisans using skillsets that have been passed on from generation to generation. Each fixture celebrates craftsmanship, heritage and authenticity.

Whether formal and sumptuous or simple with clean linear lines. Each piece is crafted with precision. 

Whether formal and sumptuous or simple with clean linear lines. Each piece is crafted with precision. 

For more information on House of Rohl and to see their extensive collection, please visit their website. 

For more information on House of Rohl and to see their extensive collection, please visit their website

To see these and hundreds and hundreds more visit The Architectural Digest Home Design Show's website. 

And be sure to wear flats or comfortable walking shoes! 

I was quite taken by these Nestled Cylinder Pendants from Jamie Harris Studio.Made in New York, these pieces play on stacking geometric forms to create sophisticated lighting structures that illuminate with elegance.  Colors and fixture are custom-designed for your project.  Available as individual pendants, or can be built into chandeliers in any shape. For more information visit Jamie Harris Studio.

I was quite taken by these Nestled Cylinder Pendants from Jamie Harris Studio.Made in New York, these pieces play on stacking geometric forms to create sophisticated lighting structures that illuminate with elegance.  Colors and fixture are custom-designed for your project.  Available as individual pendants, or can be built into chandeliers in any shape. For more information visit Jamie Harris Studio.

This wood assemblage by Michael Sanzone was created from wood found at an Irish whiskey distillery. For more visit Kathryn Miriam's website.

This wood assemblage by Michael Sanzone was created from wood found at an Irish whiskey distillery. For more visit Kathryn Miriam's website.

Eric Trine describes himself as a "I'm Eric Trine. I consider myself an object based studio artist and designer, or more simply, a maker of things." He designs by making instead of by drawing.  Each idea starts with a tool instead of a pencil. For more on the artists and his creations, visit his website.

Eric Trine describes himself as a "I'm Eric Trine. I consider myself an object based studio artist and designer, or more simply, a maker of things." He designs by making instead of by drawing.  Each idea starts with a tool instead of a pencil. For more on the artists and his creations, visit his website.

Mehmet Cetinkaya Gallery brings us beautiful fabrics from Istanbul. For more visit their website. 

Mehmet Cetinkaya Gallery brings us beautiful fabrics from Istanbul. For more visit their website. 

Mehmet Cetinkaya

Mehmet Cetinkaya

Cowhides and bold graphics create a modern juxtaposition between material and pattern. The rug’s outline is natural and unique to each piece. Each one is hand painted in Brooklyn. For more visit Avoavo.

Cowhides and bold graphics create a modern juxtaposition between material and pattern. The rug’s outline is natural and unique to each piece. Each one is hand painted in Brooklyn. For more visit Avoavo.

Cowhide pillows via Avoavo.

Cowhide pillows via Avoavo.

Gorgeous linens and home accessories from Japanese-made Rikumo.

Gorgeous linens and home accessories from Japanese-made Rikumo.

Japan Made Rikumo

Japan Made Rikumo

Italian Dinnerware by Arte Italica

Italian Dinnerware by Arte Italica

I was mesmerised by the Calico Wallpaper

I was mesmerised by the Calico Wallpaper

Everything old is new again and this Kickback Coffee Table is the perfect example.  This table was designed for the music lover who takes his downtime seriously. It’s the ultimate table to come home to after a long day—with a recessed area to house a turntable, a side cutout for an amp, a niche for over 120 albums, and a solid brass inset to hold a whiskey or wine bottle (or ash tray if you live in a legal state). Kick back, enjoy a drink or a smoke, and when side A comes to an end, no need to get up—just lean over, flip the record, and pour another finger. For more information visit the Atocha Design website.

Everything old is new again and this Kickback Coffee Table is the perfect example. 

This table was designed for the music lover who takes his downtime seriously. It’s the ultimate table to come home to after a long day—with a recessed area to house a turntable, a side cutout for an amp, a niche for over 120 albums, and a solid brass inset to hold a whiskey or wine bottle (or ash tray if you live in a legal state). Kick back, enjoy a drink or a smoke, and when side A comes to an end, no need to get up—just lean over, flip the record, and pour another finger. For more information visit the Atocha Design website.

I was quite taken by the beauty of these glass decanters by Chesterfield Glass Art. 

I was quite taken by the beauty of these glass decanters by Chesterfield Glass Art

Mitchell Black, a new tradition for gift and home is new to the show this year. It is a nod to the past and a focus on the present. This celebrates the aesthetic from the past through modern living. It all began in 2012 from a collection of vintage copper and silver plate etchings. I loved the modern whimsical accessories. For more visit their website.

Mitchell Black, a new tradition for gift and home is new to the show this year. It is a nod to the past and a focus on the present. This celebrates the aesthetic from the past through modern living. It all began in 2012 from a collection of vintage copper and silver plate etchings. I loved the modern whimsical accessories. For more visit their website.

What's the newest shift in fashion? Dresses? Pants? Both!

Fashion is never constant. It's constantly evolving, refining, and always borrowing and often improving from the past. From the runway to the streets I've been noticing a shift toward wearing dresses over pants. While it may sound silly, even confusing to some, it's a look that when done properly can look refined, sophisticated and effortless. This look transcends your wardrobe's functionality, giving your garments a greater range of wear; from casual to elegant, from day to night this pairing seems to be what every girl's wardrobe needs. Additionally, this look works well in every season and can help bridge your wardrobe from one season to the next.

How are these being paired? We're seeing long dresses and thigh-skimming shifts worn with pants in all sorts of styles from skinny, to cigarette to those more full in form. This is a look that is easy to create and pull off, however, by that same token, it's also a look that can look terribly wrong when not done properly. Stick to like items. For example do not pair a short evening dress with a pair of jeans and expect to be taken seriously!

What do you think? Is this something you think you could pull off?
Images via: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7

How to dress for the season when the weather simply cannot make up its mind!

Dressing for the change of seasons - White jeans and fur can co-exist beautifully!

Dressing for the change of seasons - White jeans and fur can co-exist beautifully!

It's that time of year. Mother Nature will be taking us on her erratic roller-coaster-weather journey. It will be hot one day and frigid the next. What to wear seems to take on an entirely new meaning this time of year. Spring makes it's debut next Friday. But what exactly does that mean? While we equate Spring with warm sunny days, green grass, buds bursting, and flowers blooming, in much of the country Spring doesn't really arrive until well into May and until then we're sort of in limbo. 

How does one dress when the early morning thermostat still reads 30 and yet, when the sun shines down on us brightly during the afternoon hours, we're all ready to take out our summer wardrobes? The key to dressing well this time of year so that we look appropriate and feel comfortable is simply by layering. Layers can be peeled off as the temperatures rise, and then put back on as they start to cool again. But there's more to it than that.

Almost anything goes. Gone are the rules that white cannot be worn until the end of May. Yet, a frilly, gauzy sundress certainly would not be appropriate (at least in the Northeast) until temperatures reach into the 70s in succession. And fur looks silly then. And long, down puffer coats worn with little sandals looks silly as well. But a trench coat, worn over a warm sweater with strappy sandals is perfectly acceptable - so long as there's no snow under foot. Right now, while the thermometer is erratic we can pull items from both summer and winter wardrobes. The key is to be appropriate. The key is to look appropriate.

While we are all ready to pack up our scarves, boots and heavy coats, to do so would be premature. Even though we've been enjoying temperatures well into the 50s, Mother Nature has been known to dump snow on us well into April in the past. And I wouldn't put it past her again. As much as we are eager to break out our sandals and pastels, we'll need to keep some cold weather items on hand, for a while longer. 

I believe in dressing for the weather as opposed to dressing for the season. And since the weather is a little bit winter and a little bit spring, that's how we'll dress. We will layer colors and textures and fabrics. If you've tucked your white jeans away for the winter, even though Memorial Day seems eons away, it's really ok to bring them out and put them on. Pair them with darker and more neutral colors so that they are worn appropriately. White jeans are seasonally perfect when paired with a dark colored jacket, sweater and boots. As the weather continues to warm replace the boots with pumps or flats. Or maybe you still prefer to wear darker colors, blacks, navy, grey. Liven up these dark tones with pops of bright and pastel. A white, beige or pastel coat will lighten up your wardrobe perfectly. Replace tights with leggings and show a little skin. Boots can still be worn with dresses with or without tights. The wonderful thing about fashion today is that almost anything goes and the rules are all meant to be bent.

Winter textures and colors pair perfectly with lighter colors as we transition our wardrobes from Winter fo Spring

Winter textures and colors pair perfectly with lighter colors as we transition our wardrobes from Winter fo Spring

White jeans are always appropriate! Pair them with a warm, chunky sweater that can be taken off when the day warms up

White jeans are always appropriate! Pair them with a warm, chunky sweater that can be taken off when the day warms up

Take off the boots and show a little skin! Winter fabrics like fur, leather and velvet can still be worn for a while.

Take off the boots and show a little skin! Winter fabrics like fur, leather and velvet can still be worn for a while.

Black and beige are always in season

Black and beige are always in season

Add a pop of color and bring out the light tweeds

Add a pop of color and bring out the light tweeds

Neutral colored shoes and bags perfectly shift your wardrobe to warmer days

Neutral colored shoes and bags perfectly shift your wardrobe to warmer days

A lavender trench jacket lightens up the leather pants, as do the metallic shoes.

A lavender trench jacket lightens up the leather pants, as do the metallic shoes.

If you're a boot person, rest assured you can still wear them - with or without hose.

If you're a boot person, rest assured you can still wear them - with or without hose.

Leggings worn with skirts and dresses in lieu of tights offer a more casual look... It feels good to show some skin!

Leggings worn with skirts and dresses in lieu of tights offer a more casual look... It feels good to show some skin!

If the snow has melted and the temperatures are above freezing and you want to show off of your toes, by all means do! (A proper pedicure may be in order beforehand!)

If the snow has melted and the temperatures are above freezing and you want to show off of your toes, by all means do! (A proper pedicure may be in order beforehand!)

Trade out the boots for a pair of neutral pumps

Trade out the boots for a pair of neutral pumps

With the melting snow and spring showers, bright, colorful wellies are always in style!

With the melting snow and spring showers, bright, colorful wellies are always in style!

Images via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

21 Classic Must-Have Items for Every Wardrobe

21 classic elements every wardrobe must have

21 classic elements every wardrobe must have

Have you ever noticed that some people just seem to always be so well put together, while others, seem to always miss the mark? It's not about the pricetag as much as it is about the pairing. It's perfectly acceptable to mix a TSE cashmere sweater with a pair of Old Navy jeans (if those are what fits you best.) It's perfectly acceptable to mix costume and real jewelry.  It's perfectly  acceptable to mix casual and dressy. And, it's perfectly acceptable to take classic pieces and make them your own. 

Greatly influenced by my mother and maternal grandmother, I describe my style as classic with a twist.  I like to take the classics and play them up. I like to look timeless yet modern with bright bold color and patterns. While I love all things elegant, graceful and sophisticated, I don't take myself too seriously - and playful, whimsical and unexpected elements are a must! 

A classic wardrobe is one that has items both new and old, but has been cultivated for many years.It's not about the label so much as the fit. A classic wardrobe is a wardrobe that fits well with a few well-made pieces of great quality. Well made classic items not only never fade from style, but if well maintained will truly stand the tests of time. There's no need to get rid of your favorite cashmere sweater simply because you got it when you graduated college. If it has been cared for well it may last long enough to pass on to your own daughter! There's no need to toss aside that perfectly tailored navy Ralph Lauren blazer simply because it was your first real purchase. Simply give it a fresh modern-day look by pairing it with a pair of cigarette pants or your boyfriend jeans. Believe it or not, the best way to update your wardrobe is not by shopping for items that are trendy, but those that are classic. 

A classic wardrobe is never without:

  1. A little black dress - We think the more the merrier.
  2. A little white dress
  3. A classic tweed Chanel-style jacket
  4. A well tailored blazer (navy/black/beige/off-white)
  5. A beige trench coat/camel's hair coat
  6. Classic pumps (black/neutral/grey/red) 
  7. Classic ballet flats (black/beige/red/pink)
  8. A pair of well fitted denim jeans
  9. A pair of white jeans
  10. A pair of tailored black pants
  11. A pair of cigarette pants
  12. A gingham shirt
  13. A white dress shirt
  14. A striped shirt 
  15. A cashmere sweater, pull-over
  16. A cashmere sweater, cardigan
  17. A pair of tortoise shell sunglasses
  18. A leopard print anything (bag/coat/shoes)
  19. A nice silk scarf (to be worn many ways)
  20. Classic patterns (stripes/houndstooth/check/tartan) 
  21. Pearls! (The more the merrier!)

While classic colors are grey, black, navy, white and beige, these are often punctuated by bright pops of red, yellow, pink, green and blues. 

A classic wardrobe always has a well fitted navy blazer, 

A classic wardrobe always has a well fitted navy blazer, 

Patterns like gingham, check, stripes and animal print punctuate a classic wardrobe. A beige trench is a must!

Patterns like gingham, check, stripes and animal print punctuate a classic wardrobe. A beige trench is a must!

Classics like tortoise shell glasses and black never fade from style

Classics like tortoise shell glasses and black never fade from style

A classic wardrobe benefits from pops of color and s nice silk scarf that can be worn many ways

A classic wardrobe benefits from pops of color and s nice silk scarf that can be worn many ways

Leopard prints add a modern flair to any classic wardrobe

Leopard prints add a modern flair to any classic wardrobe

A white shirt is essential to a classic wardrobe whether worn untucked or neatly tucked in. 

A white shirt is essential to a classic wardrobe whether worn untucked or neatly tucked in. 

Pearls... pearls and more pearls! Every classic girl has her pearls, both real and costume.

Pearls... pearls and more pearls! Every classic girl has her pearls, both real and costume.

Hair worn pulled back will never fade from style and perfectly complements a classic wardrobe - Plus it shows off those fabulous pearl earrings!

Hair worn pulled back will never fade from style and perfectly complements a classic wardrobe - Plus it shows off those fabulous pearl earrings!

A scarf worn in the hair is always classic

A scarf worn in the hair is always classic

Cigarette pumps have lasted the test of time ever since Audrey Hepburn first slid into a pair. They're elegant, stylish and universally flattering. Worn casually with ballet flats or dressed up with pumps.

Cigarette pumps have lasted the test of time ever since Audrey Hepburn first slid into a pair. They're elegant, stylish and universally flattering. Worn casually with ballet flats or dressed up with pumps.

A white blouse and a taffeta skirt is always a classic

A white blouse and a taffeta skirt is always a classic

A little white dress is essential to every wardrobe

A little white dress is essential to every wardrobe

Is there a modern day woman who does not own at least one little black dress? A classic wardrobe must!

Is there a modern day woman who does not own at least one little black dress? A classic wardrobe must!

A Chanel-like jacket can be dressed up or down

A Chanel-like jacket can be dressed up or down

Don't forget to add a little color to your classic wardrobe!

Don't forget to add a little color to your classic wardrobe!

Images via - 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15

Book Review :: Gracious Rooms by Barbara Westbrook

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Described as the South's most inviting designer, Barbara Westbrook shares her principles for creating beautiful homes that are warm and inviting in her first book, Gracious Rooms. This beautiful  book is filled with rich, inspirational images and advice. Westbrook has been designing classically inspired homes with Southern charm and European elegance for over twenty years. Whether it's a fetching country cottage or a sumptuous penthouse apartment, Westerbrook offers advice with polish and patina.  Her philosophy is quite simple. "Make it interesting. Make it beautiful. Make it personal. Make it welcoming and warm."

Westbrook walks her readers through 10 stunning homes. You'll visit light-filled lake retreats, contemporary houses, and historic mansions. Throughout these homes she shares her straightforward, usable ideas. Westerbrook imparts her views on symmetry, the use of natural elements in design a room, and color as a means of unifying spaces within a home and creating a mood with materials. Through combining these elements of design and decoration, she turns houses into homes. Her thoughts are. "Make it interesting. Make it beautiful. Make it personal."

This is a book that is poised to grace every elegant coffee table, book shelf or library no matter the reader's prefered style. 

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Every house has a message to deliver
Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, new York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, new York 2015

Encountering a house for the first time is just like making a new acquaintance.
Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Every space should have a one of a kind object of treatment that makes it distinct.
Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

At a time when anyone can obtain anything online, interiors can easily end up looking generic rather than individualized.
Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Curtains can be taken for granted. Of course we need them; they protect us from the sun, the cold and prying eyes. But in addition to function they are the ultimate accessory.
Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Even a formally arranged room can be given a friendlier character. Absent guests who bring it to life. A dining room can be the loneliest place in the house, especially if it adopts a stiff bearing.
Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Good architecture generates good decorating. When I am lucky enough to work with great spaces - room that are well lit and beautifully proportioned, that flow smoothly from one to the other - my mission is to make decorating decisions that will only lift them higher.
Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

What do you see when you enter a house, a room, a hallway? What sets the welcoming tone?
Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Collections are wonderful, tangible expressions of people’s passions. They add tremendous personality to an interior.
Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Barbara Westbrook, Gracious Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, New York 2015

Adapting antiques is an easy way to bring something old into our time.

BARBARA WESTBROOK: GRACIOUS ROOMS By Barbara Westbrook with Heather Mac Issac Published by Rizzoli New York ISBN: 978-0-8478-4505-7
PRICE: $50.00 US
Hardcover / 240 pages / 9 x 12 / 150 color illustrations
Copies wherever books are sold