Between this and the last post, you might think you're seeing a pattern. And though the last couple weeks have definitely made me want to indulge in a little wine more than usual, I'm really not much of a drinker. However, I do love having parties and hanging out in the beautiful outdoors, which is where this little baby comes in. I'm totally into this Party Bucket with Table from Pottery Barn.
It's fun, it's functional (times two), and it's pretty attractive. The bucket is made of galvanized steel and fits into a hand-woven all-weather wicker handled piece. I think you can imagine as easily as I have how great this would be at a party or casual cookout, and ease is what good summer entertaining should be all about.
image via pottery barn
There are so many beautiful cotton and linen napkins out there, but sometimes paper napkins are more practical or preferred, so why not have a cute selection on hand? Meri Meri's Toot Sweet line is super adorable featuring fun patterns and, on most designs, a scalloped edge. Most of them come in lunch and beverage sizes and the striped versions offer additional colorways.
Well, it seems like a million years since I had a chance to last post, but I can finally share one of the reasons I've been so busy. I was totally caught off-guard and flattered when Arhaus Furniture asked me to be the first guest blogger on their blog, Greenhaus. I've worked with Arhaus for years on editorial stories and it's always been a pleasure and I remember how fun it was to get a preview of their Manhattan flagship store before it opened.
It actually took a long time for me to figure out what I should write about for the post. I was trying to think of some grand theme I should try to create but finally it occurred to me to talk about what I know, dinners with my family, and make it look exactly like it would if I were buying it for myself with no online attention.
I knew I wanted something bright and fun, something that would make me smile, and even though I was stressing out until the very last second, I think it came out well and somehow from my brain translated to the table exactly how I wanted it to.
This was the first "full-scale" shoot I've done since I moved and let me tell you, it was as fun as I remember but so much harder! For a typical magazine shoot, you put your concept together but you can order lots of options to choose what works best together. I couldn't do that so I just had to hope that my idea would come out right and make me look like I know a little about what I'm doing and not criminally insane.
I really love the pieces I chose and I can't wait to keep using them in different ways. I had a great time digging through my own things and finding a few new pieces (can't get enough of these zebra glasses) to pair with them.
If you read the post, let me know what you think!
full disclosure: I was allowed to keep the products that I selected to photograph for my post, but all opinions are my own.
The other day it actually smelled like spring in the air and it was the best thing I've smelled in a long time. I can't wait to spend more time outside. Even when you're busy, everything feels a little lighter in spring, don't you think?
Spring and outdoor products are in stores now and this adorable item comes from IKEA. Developed by design studio Rich Brilliant Willing for the PS 2014 collection, the LED stool/lamp is suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and was inspired by the very summery idea of fireflies alight in a jar. The name indicates the obvious double duties of the piece acting as a stool and a light. It is also available with a white top.
The collaboration with RBW started in 2011, when founders Theo Richardson, Charles Brill, and Alexander Williams were invited by IKEA to be part of this year's collection. It's always interesting to me how long in the making collaborations like this are. The goal of the entire PS collection was to create innovative and accessible items.
The stool/lamp is portable and is powered by rechargeable batteries. When fully charged, the batteries will provide full light for approximately five hours and the batteries themselves last for at least two years. The charger and cord are stored conveniently under the lid. The stool/lamp uses LEDs which consume 85% less energy and last 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Over the last several years, IKEA has committed to making all of their lighting extremely energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
I can picture a bunch of these scattered around a pool or on the lawn glowing as the sun goes down, while friends hang out and enjoy each other's company.
image via ikea
I'm not the first person to be excited about Oh Joy!'s collection for Target, which just launched, and I certainly won't be the last. I have to say in all honesty, that Joy Cho is probably my favorite blogger of all right now (I even bought her book on my Kindle so I could learn more about blogging as a business, now if I could just find time to read it). In addition to having an insanely attractive family (I want to have a playdate with our daughters), her taste is fabulous, and she seems so down-to-earth and real; she's very positive, but she isn't afraid to peel back the layers and share her hectic reality. Somehow it was comforting to know that Joy struggles with a lot of the same things I do; you always know other parents feel the same way but it's reassuring to hear it anyway.
Her collection for Target is really lovely and feels very much "her"—as much as you can know someone from reading their blog, it feels like an accurate translation of who she is and her style. The products are very cheerful and feminine, and the shots from her LA launch party have so many great entertaining ideas and decor moments in them. The paper goods are adorable, but I especially love the entertaining pieces that have more longevity. The collection includes more paper goods, cutlery, decor items, cake toppers, and balloons.
The launch party in LA was intended to be an outdoor garden party, but rain drove them inside. I don't think the party lost much of anything by being indoors. There are so many great and easy entertaining ideas that I'm actually planning to blog about them tomorrow for my other job at the event planning company. But decor-wise, here's something I loved. We've seen this cocktail table around for years, but it's always in white. How fresh does it look in color? I love how they painted the tables to coordinate with the collection.
When you're adding global or ethnic touches to your decor, as many are wont to do, it's always nice if the pieces have an air of authenticity. Antique pieces often have a lot of personality, but new pieces can also bring great style to a space. Noted interior designer Sara Bengur recently debuted her newest products, which are inspired by her Turkish background and upbringing, as well as her extensive travels.
Sara has been in business nearly 20 years; her eponymous firm is located in New York. After hearing her name and seeing some of her work in publications for years, I finally had a chance to meet her at the gift show last month and she couldn't have been lovelier.
A lot of times when you ask designers what prompted them to create their own product line, the answer is that they couldn't find something they were looking for to use in their projects. "I often design custom pieces for my clients that have been inspired by either my Turkish roots or the location of the house I am working on at the time," she says. After increasing demand that she create her own line of products, she finally has.
Sara has spent a great deal of time studying and immersing herself in Ottoman designs. "The patterns have an organic quality and I love the idea of giving a new life to them in a different scale, form, and texture." Most of the products are made in Turkey, though the stoneware comes from nearby Malta. The collection features plenty of color because Sara believes rooms don't have to be neutral to be serene and cozy and she tries to encourage clients to follow suit.
Check out more of the new products:
Sara's favorite products are the peshtamals, more commonly known as hammam towels. "I call it my favorite travel accessory. You can use it as a shawl, scarf, towel, pareo, or blanket on the beach!" The peshtamals are woven by an all-women's cooperative in Southern Turkey.
My personal favorites are the covered bonbon dishes—love the scalloped edges—and the kilim runners shown at the top. A larger area rug incorporating the runners' designs is coming soon. Sara and I both share the opinion that the details and the layering of accessories are crucial to making a home more personal.
"My passion has always been to create the unexpected in interiors, something nobody has seen before. My hope is that through this line, people feel they own something unique and made just for them," Sara says.
images via sara bengur
Hope everyone is staying warm and lifting with their knees when they shovel, it's crazy out there lately. I drove down to New York last Friday to attend NYNOW, formerly NYIGF, the gift show at the Javits Center. In two and a half days—and 2700+ pictures later—I walked every single aisle of the show and saw some great products.
Mostly, I was really excited to be back in New York and to see a lot of the vendors I haven't seen in a while, since I missed the last three shows (not sure how that time flew so quickly). It was great to catch up with people and this was my first time experiencing the show since they changed the format and rebranded. I think it worked out well to have all the home companies under one roof, though as I walked the show, I realized there were several brands that I didn't see. I'm hoping they'll be there in August.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to sharing the things that I saw over the next weeks and months. In addition to new and interesting products, the booths themselves are often styled creatively. Here are just a few fun things I noticed:
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Aside from Sunshine getting a nasty stomach bug that lasted several days (and has now passed, fingers crossed), we had a great (fattening) holiday and lots of fun giving and playing with presents.
There's nothing like setting the table for all the elaborate meals during the holidays to make you re-evaluate the types of table linens you have. And certainly the holidays are the time to bring out special pieces, though of course I don't think you need to limit yourself to special occasions at all. Any occasion where you get together with loved ones is special enough to use the "good stuff." I love using fancy tabletop and linens; why else register for these things, right?
My table linens situation is a little sad. My dining table is a large oval and I find it so difficult to find an interesting tablecloth that is the appropriate size and isn't rectangular. Napkins are a bit easier: I have a set of four cloth napkins with metallic thread I picked up at HomeGoods and another set that goes with a tablecloth purchased to fit our old dining table. I would like to buy a new set of at least 12 napkins that can be mixed and matched (and will coordinate with a future tablecloth) and brought out when we have gatherings.
Aside from being more sophisticated than paper napkins, I like cloth for the environmental angle--less trash!
I really like the new line of table linens designed by Elson & Company. The napkins are the brand's first venture into tabletop products and are currently available exclusively through Elson & Company’s new online shop.
I've been familiar with the company for several years, since I saw their second Fashion Underfoot collection—the company is best known for their stylish carpets and collaborations with well-known designers such as Lulu DK, Kathryn Ireland, and Oscar de la Renta.
The debut collection of napkins offers a really fun mix of patterns and colors. You can easily create a traditional look, a more ethnic look, something that's a bit laid back, and there are designs that feel more formal, plus a couple that are distinctly holiday patterns, if you're thinking ahead for next year.
I'm partial to the Petals Coral, Hatch, John, and India patterns for both everyday use and special occasions.
The hand-dyed napkins are 100% cotton and made in India.
images via elson & company
As family members and friends visit (or descend, as the case may be), it's important to remember that a little preparation can make a guest's stay more enjoyable for everyone involved. I spoke to three entertaining experts for my recent piece in Redbook magazine's December issue, which highlights easy and inexpensive ways to ensure your guests feel most welcome. Check out the article for product ideas and advice!
image via redbook, photograph by jonny valiant
My favorite part of giving gifts is that moment when the person opens the package, sees what the item is, and you can tell from their expression that you nailed it. I spend a lot of time carefully thinking about the right gifts for each person we give to, and even when I go a little over budget, it's usually worth it to achieve that perfect fit.
I still have a lot of shopping to do for my own family, but I put together a few things that I hope can help you as you shop for yours. Let me know what you like!
images via retailers listed
mom, wife, market editor, crazy person.
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