Thursday, November 27, 2014

Let There Be Pie!

I don't have much of a sweet tooth. It's highly likely that I will turn down a sugary treat for something crisp and salty any day. But sometimes a girl just needs dessert and in those moments I'd choose pie over cake in a heartbeat. 
In an effort to try something different than the same old, same old apple pie, last Thanksgiving I made this Apple Pandowdy from Williams Sonoma. I don't think I will ever make a traditional apple pie again!
My go to pumpkin pie? Spiced Pumpkin Pie. Also from Williams Sonoma. Truly delicious and to prepare?
Easy as pie.
Yes, I totally just did that.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Impossibly Chic

Remember when I was talking about The Quest for the Well Edited Wardrobe? Well, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. For the past week I have been following the undeniably gorgeous Mimi Thorisson and her family on Instagram as they visited New York for some of her book signings. For those of you don't know who Mimi is, she writes an amazing food blog called Manger from the beautiful Medoc region of France. Last month she released her first cookbook A Kitchen In France and besides being packed full of hunger inducing recipes, it is also a complete feast for the eyes.
 As is Mimi herself.
I noticed that Mimi frequently wears the same (or similar) black dress. And she looks impossibly chic every.single.time.
Is it because she has embraced the well edited wardrobe? Or is it because she just knows what works on her? Maybe it's simply because she is part French and being stylish just seems to be part of their DNA.
Regardless, I leave you with this thought:

Then perhaps being impossibly chic will just be second nature. :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Quest For The Well Edited Wardrobe

A year and a half ago I began to pare down my closet(s), rid myself of excess and change my approach to how I dressed myself. I shared how overrun my closet(s) had become and was able to edit down to one closet's worth of clothing (no longer a plural! hooray!) with minimal seasonal storage. While this may not seem impressive to you or to have required any kind of superhuman strength and willpower, let me mention that I have worked in apparel retail for 26 years. It is not easy to be around clothing all day, 5 days a week with styles and trends that change more frequently than some people may change their skivvies. (Except me, I change my skivvies daily!). 
After this "awakening" I can proudly say that I have purged more than I have purchased yet I am continually working on downsizing into a very small, well edited wardrobe. The less I have, the more simple things are. Not really rocket science, but yet it never ceases to amaze me. 
A few weeks ago I saw this pin on Pinterest and once again it refreshed my mission and mantra that less is more:

As I looked over this list it dawned on me that these items are truly the only things I grab on a daily basis. I don't know that I could survive without my black and white v~neck tees. I wear them constantly and with everything. I realized that I rotate only between 3 pairs of jeans; black skinnies, blue skinnies and a blue boyfriend but still own about 5 other pairs.
I had to travel for work last week and as I packed my suitcase I looked down at the items I had laid out and lo and behold, what do you think I had selected? A white v~neck tee, boyfriend jeans, ankle boots and a wool blazer. I added the same belt I reach for time and time again as well as a thin, gold necklace to finish it off. One of 3 necklaces that always adorn my neck. The basics of my wardrobe or core of my closet, if you will.
It's no surprise then that I felt my best and most comfortable in this outfit is it? Of course not. I still have some work to do in the purge department and after this recent reminder it will be a lot easier. If it seems wasteful or painful to the wallet (think of all that money you've spent!) you can always resell better branded clothing, footwear and handbags on sites like eBay and donate the rest to your favorite charity thrift store. I paid for our summer vacation last year with the money I made selling my clothing, shoes and handbags on eBay. You'll be surprised how quickly it can add up and the demand for used clothing online. 
Hmmm...that gets me thinking...extra Christmas shopping money???
That idea in itself is worth an additional purging! Happy Friday friends, I think I'll now be spending the weekend doing some additional closet cleaning, you?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Harvest Wine & Cheese Party

With the holidays approaching faster than a speeding bullet and the stress and strain feeling more powerful than a locomotive, you sometimes feel like you have to be Superman in order to deal with it all. We want to entertain and throw parties that our friends will be talking about well into the new year, but sometimes reality (and exhaustion) keep us from doing so.
Cue the Wine & Cheese party.
There is no need to whip up a fancy dinner party for 4, 6 or 8 (or more!) when you can set up an amazing spread of noshes and nibbles and sip the night away with your nearest and dearest. All you really need is a sideboard, buffet or even your dining room table on which to set up a variety of cheeses, nuts (if no one is allergic!), crackers, breads etc. You can incorporate seasonal elements alongside your serving pieces to make the setting festive and fun. Using a plate stand for the dishes adds a little height and gives guests a starting point to fill their plates. A few candles in between provide mood lighting and some pretty flowers, or in this case, some sheaths of wheat, are the finishing touch. Pop open a few bottles of your favorite wines, set out some pretty glassware and you are ready for an evening that required minimum effort but delivers maximum impact. With no crazy clean up! You'll be more relaxed, able to enjoy yourself and still host that seasonal soiree we all dream about having.

Shop the setting:
Wrought iron plate stand sold
Cheese domes here, here and here
Danish modern serving tray here
Vintage linen towel here 
Pretty vintage wine glasses here, here , here and here
Etched glass salad/dessert plates coming soon

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Making A Statement

Yesterday I had to attend a style event for the company I work for to kick off the launch of a new line. What to wear was on the forefront of my mind all week. While I have paired down my wardrobe tremendously and tend to stick to a uniform of sorts lately, I still need that statement piece to really make my outfit pop. I settled on a white v~neck tee under a great black wool blazer and black skinny jeans with these amazing printed back zip heels. The heels certainly make their own statement but I still wanted a little "bling" around my neck or in my ears to complete the ensemble.
In the same way, I am always looking for "statement" pieces to complete the rooms in my home. Sometimes it's a chair, a painting, or a necessity like lighting. When we moved in and I began designing my master bedroom I had my heart set on a crystal or glass chandelier with silver accents to complete the look.

Unfortunately, I had to compromise with the husband on this. He compromised on dainty coral red nightstands that barely hold more than a frame and a night time glass of water and I agreed (sadly) to let him have the ceiling fan over the bed that he cannot sleep without.
From time to time I find myself still looking for that showstopping chandelier that should be hanging over our bed and I recently found a few on One Kings Lane that have me contemplating whether or not he will divorce me if I quietly replace his beloved fan with one of these beauties.

In an effort to save my marriage I should probably look to some of the other rooms in our house where having the white noise of a ceiling fan is not critical to his existence.

Our study/office might be the perfect place to add this amazing vintage chandelier:

Or maybe it is better suited for a larger space like our formal living room with it's gallery of vintage and antique artwork. It might be perfect since our adjacent dining room has black wrought iron, teak furniture and some rustic accents.
As I continue to look for those finishing touches for each room in our house, each day I look for that piece of statement jewelry or outfit "completer" for what I am wearing. It's the key to pulling a look together in every facet of style and home design.

P.S. One Kings Lane has me swooning over more than their lighting, this vintage ring. I would love  it for the birthday I have this week. Hint, hint Mr. Ceiling Fan lover. ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gather Round The Table ~ A Vintage Thanksgiving

When I see stacks of vintage dishes and crates full of no longer loved china, I see endless possibilities. There are countless ways to incorporate the old into the new and make it feel fresh and modern. Take for instance the soft, sage green leaves and graceful, gold chrysanthemums of Noritake's Janice pattern. A little bit of glam but in a effortless manner. Pairing it with natural elements such as a jute runner and a wood charger makes it comfortable, approachable. The white linens feel crisp, not stuffy. Serving your award worthy side dishes in some charming vintage ironstone will have your guests not just coming back for second helpings, but coming back to gather around your table time and time again.

Maybe glam isn't your thing. Perhaps you prefer something a little more simple and understated. There are always sweet floral print dishes piled high on those flea market tables or cluttering the shelves at the thrifts. Finding a set in soft, classic colors like yellow and green opens the door to a variety of mix and match potential. Pairing natural elements like rattan and wood with earth tone linens creates a neutral backdrop so you can easily add a statement piece like a hand painted tureen. By keeping it in a similar color palette, it doesn't come across as over the top. Instead it is warm and inviting and gives the whole table a sense of being curated or thoughtfully put together.

Next time you find yourself wandering through a flea market or meandering up and down the aisles of a thrift store, take a second look at those stacks of dishes. Look at them as more than just  "grandma's china". It's a chance to reuse, recycle and create gatherings where your personality and style can really shine.

Shop the setting:

Traditional Glam
China available here
Gold flatware here
Vintage napkins here
Table runner here
Ironstone serving bowls here
Etched wine glasses here

Country Farmhouse
China available here and here 
Gravy boat here
Hand painted tureen available here and here
French tureen here
Vintage basket here
Pressed glass wine glasses here