Christmas Play List …

I have a horrible, dark secret to share…..

I am not a fan of Christmas music.  I spent my fair share of holidays working retail in my younger days.  When you are subjected to holiday music starting in October that is on repeat from anywhere to 4 to 12 hours at a time, you start to develop tics.  To this day, I break out into a cold sweat when “A  Holly Jolly Christmas” comes on the radio.  But I also know how incredibly important music is to setting an overall mood, so I asked my assistant Michelle to help me curate a playlist that could lift my spirits but not leave me in a state of music PTSD.

Working from her favorite Spotify music selections Michelle created a playlist that was both naughty and nice; a healthy dose of indy rock punctuated with some traditional tunes.  It’s just want this Grinch needed to finally get himself 100% into the holiday spirit…..

[click here or on the image below to start playlist]

Song Collage

Okay, I am off to run those errands that always seem to creep up at the last minute but at last now I have a sound track for the day!  Have a great weekend and good luck with last minute shopping!!!!

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Decorating for Christmas with SheKnows.com …

I know I am a lucky boy to have a garage (aka ample storage) in the city.  Walls lined with shelving is what helps me to keep my hoarding…errr collecting tendencies in check.  It also allows me to keep a nice little stash of holiday and other seasonal decor at my finger tips.  However, what happens when storage is at a premium and the thought of sacrificing precious closet space for Christmas ornaments is too much to bear?

Well that is exactly what we are talking about this month for my SheKnows.com column…..

courtney-sheknows-xmas-6

Matter of fact, what would you say if I said with some smart shopping, thoughtful planning and upcycling your year-round home decor, you could fit everything you need for Christmas into one box, including the a tree? Honest!  To get everything to fit into a box, think outside the box…..

courtney-sheknows-xmas-13

courtney-sheknows-xmas-16

And what if I told you to forget about holiday florals?  Don’t want to waste the money on temporary arrangements?  I am all about ditching the poinsettia for something more hip and perhaps even permanent…..

courtney-sheknows-xmas-10

So are you tempted to learn more about my Christmas decorating secrets?  Well go visit SheKnows.com to find out how you can have a fabulously decorated Christmas that won’t burst your bank or leave you bursting at the seams!

[photo credit: photo by adza//art direction & styling: courtney lake ]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Men’s Style: The Tux …

Contrary to popular belief, my dance card is not that full.  Sure I get my fair share of invites but I am by any standard a social butterfly.  So it strikes me as odd that I have three different tuxedos in my closet.  I will let that sink in for a moment…

Three.

Who in their right mind owns three tuxedos?  The answer is no one.  Fortunately, I am not of normal mind, so three works for me.  Truth be told, I don’t get to wear any of them that often, so I was tickled to have the opportunity to bust out my favorites as part of a joint feature I did with RUE Daily.  I am discussing the Dos and Do Nots of wearing a tux.  It’s a great piece on what to look for in buying a tux and how to kit it out once you find the perfect one for you.  However, to be upfront, I put down rule down which I steadfastly break on a regular basis.  Tradition dictates that men wear a cummerbund and suspenders with their formal wear.  I find both items to be exceedingly uncomfortable and pretty much ignore that rule.  Call me a sham or a purveyor of bad taste if you will but honestly, I don’t care because I am …….

CourtneyOutLoud_Tux_Lead

Courtney-HolidayFashion-33 Courtney-HolidayFashion-46

Courtney-HolidayFashion-51 Courtney-HolidayFashion-48

Courtney-HolidayFashion-57

[tuxedo: calvin klein signature // shirt: jil sanders // bow tie: brooks brothers // shoes: alexander mcqueen]

Be sure to visit RUE Daily for how you can steal this look and my suggestions on how to look your most dashing at your next black tie event!

Want another does of men’ style?  Check out the other posts in the Men’s Style: Holiday Edition here and here …..

[photo credit:  aubrie pick//styling: courtney lake]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Cleaning Out The Prop Closet…

There comes a time in every designer’s life when you simply have too much stuff.  Actually I used the other “s” word to describe my predicament.  Between keeping a ready supply of goodies for client installs and styling shoots for clients, I found myself with a storage unit full of lamps, accessories and odds-and-ends that simply were not being used.  I am as much a hoarder as the next person, but sitting on these beauties seemed foolish and honestly a tad selfish.

Being the giving person I am, I partnered up with a fab local company called Previously Owned By a Gay Man or as I like to call them POBAGM to sell my little treasures.  While the company has a funny name, it has an awesome concept; work with local designers and taste makers to cull their closets/storage units and curate collections of gently used home decor and accessories to sell to the general public at fair prices.  When the owners approached me for a sale, I initially shuttered at the idea of saying goodbye to any of my pieces.  However, I had to remind myself that it does no good having a beautiful things in boxes on a shelf…..they are meant to be shared, appreciated and make friends jealous of your superior decorating skills (wink).  So I am parting ways with all these great things and more …..

POBAGM Slide 1

1//2//3//4//5

1) Vintage Leather Trunk:  I am second-guessing selling this piece because it’s so beautiful.  The leather is perfectly aged and would make a great coffee table or a piece at a foot of a bed….

2) Thai Sundial:  I love things on a stand or pedestal – they instantly have presence.  I have used this piece repeatedly in shoots to fill console tables or shelving.  It’s the perfect object d’art …..

3) Tortoise Shell Floor Lamp:  This sucker is heavy and crazy beautiful when lit.  Tucked into a corner, it provides the perfect ambient glow for reading or pipe smoking….

4) Mirror w/ Nailhead Trim:  Masculine and oh so cool, I loved this mirror and used it in a shoot in a gentleman’s bedroom.  Hang by your front door to give yourself the once over before heading out……

5) Megaphone Pendants:  I was so bummed the client opted not to use these in their kitchen.  I loved their simplicity and geometric quality.

POBAGM Slide 2

6//7//8//9//10

6) Octagon Mirror:  It’s a big geometric beauty that I wish fit in my home.  Faceted mirror on all sides and angles that reflect light beautifully.  I am tempted to redesign our master bath just to keep this…

7) Persian Rug:  It’s a slightly larger than 5×8 wool antique Persian rug for cheaper than what you can get a synthetic bath mat.  I was smitten with the purples and red in the piece – dark, mood and dramatic….

8) Vintage Boy Portrait:  I like portraits.  Blame Emily Henderson…or thank her.  Regardless, I used his brother as inspiration for Christmas but couldn’t find a home for him.  So don’t let him be an orphan this holiday season.

9) Trio of Brass Cage Pendants:  Sometimes you buy stuff and think about it later.  Well it’s now later.  I bought these on a whim thinking that the right client would emerge.  They never did to my chagrin.  Brass plated with red wire and brass ceiling mount, these would rock on a bathroom or as bedside lighting for the more adventurous.  Can be purchased individually as well.

10) Pair of Silver Lamps:  Art Deco in feel but with a jute/linen shade….it’s like the Beverly Hillbillies!  These were used as desk & bedside table lamps and now they can serve you!

POBAGM Slide 311//12//13//14//15//16

11) White Shield Mirror:  I love this mirror – it a class shape and the white makes it so fresh.  It wanted to use this in a bedroom but got nixed.  Sadly it never found a home after that…..

12) Brass Urn Lamp:  I call this lamp Earl.  I don’t know why but when I found it at an estate auction, I was instantly smitten with its massive side and grandeur.  This could look “hotel-y” in the wrong room, but i would center it on a console in a hallway and flanked with piles of books, everyone would call you the Earl of Cool….

13) Jonathan Adler Sconce:  Funny story about this sconce….actually not that funny because I bought the wrong thing for a client.  Somehow I bought the sconce when we needed the pendant.  So my stupid mistake is your gain.

14) Tripod Floor Lamp:  So this lived in my home for many years and eventually it found itself in the garage along with numerous other lamp casualties.  It’s a great lamp with a telescoping base but as with all things in life, my style changed and the lamp needs a new home…

15) Seascape Painting:  I initially bought this piece for the frame but the oil painting grew on me.  This would be great as part of a larger gallery wall or simply hung by itself.  The frame gives this piece such presence as I could see it as part of a simple but striking vignette with the brass urn lamp….

16)  Silver Urn:  This has been an umbrella stand, end table and planter in different photo shoots.  Translation – this little guy is versatile!  

I am adding more items as things sell, so check back to see what other goodies I weed out.  I wonder if doing all this sharing can get me off Santa’s naughty list because y’all know I need all the help I can get!  Now quit reading and start shopping!

[photo credit: michele hofherr]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Libation Celebration: The Roxy …

I am adventurous in many aspects of my life (or so I like to think).  For example, I have no problem buying produce at the grocery simply because it looked “interesting” and then figuring out how to cook it later.  However, when it comes to cocktails, buying liquors, spirits and mixers that I am not familiar with scares the bejeezus out of me.  Left to my own devices, every party would have dirty martinis or greyhounds made from vodka. Fortunately, I have some great friends and colleagues who know their way around a bar and are determined to get me out of my “vodka rut”….

TheRoxy_CourtneyOutLoudDrinks

So we are back with another installment of Libation Celebration with master mixologist Ronaldo Colli, owner of the acclaimed bar Ivy Room, who is determined to open up my mind (and taste buds).  I am always a willing guinea pig but when Ronaldo suggested we use a liquor that was previously banned in this week’s drink, I was a little hesitant.  The central ingredient in this drink is bacanora, an agave-derived liquor made in the Mexican state of Sonora.  And did I mention it was illegal until 1992 for reasons that are not 100% clear, but I would venture to say it was because this stuff is “lethal” in the best way possible.  Bacanora is in the mescal family of spirits and counts tequila and mezcal as it’s cousins.  But that is pretty much where the familial bonds end.  Bacanora is deceptively smooth with a slightly smoky note thanks to the distillation process.  Mixed with the cloves and pomegranate the cocktail, it is perfectly balanced and totally unexpected….something you would expect from a drink named The Roxy…..

Roxy_DrinkRecipe

Be sure to check out the other installments of Libation Celebration here and here….

[photo credit: photo by adza//food styling: courtney lake//recipe: ronaldo colli ]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Men’s Style: Ode To Canada …

Growing up in the Midwest, I am accustomed to cold weather and snow for the holidays.   It wasn’t Christmas unless I had shoveled the driveway in below freezing weather all the while silently cursing my parents for being too cheap to buy a snow blower.  Bone-chilling cold, corrosive salt stains on my shoes and second-guessing if I had frostbite were the hallmarks of a Lake Family Christmas.  Needless to say when it came time to leave the nest, this birdie flew South ….well West to California.

However, while my feet are firmly planted in California, my head (and my heart) tend to find they drifting over the border to our snowy northern neighbors.  Over the last few years, I have found myself becoming more infatuated with Canada.  Maybe, because many of my design mentors are Canadian and thanks to this great thing called social media have cobbled together a merry band of amazing design oriented friends who support and inspire this little ole’ American.

Looking through my Canadian friends Instagram shots made me a touch nostalgic.  My Canadian friends embrace the cold weather, rather than run from it.  They pull out fashion-forward coats, cute hats and functional but stylish boots. They mix pattern and materials with abandon for a look that is undeniable chic.  For this next installment of Men’s Style: Holiday Edition, I channeled two of the most fashionable Canadians I know, Erica and Jonathan to create a look that I am calling …

Courtney_Canada_Lead

Continue reading

Holiday Cards With Minted.com …

There are some things I never procrastinate on.  Taxes are always promptly paid.  I hover by the dryer waiting for the buzzer to go off so I can fold laundry.  Yet, come the holidays, I can barely muster the energy to send Christmas cards.  I think partially because I can never quite find a card that seems like “me” and those that I do find that I love cost more than what it would be to send an actual gift to the person.  So I am typically left in a sticky situation of sending cards that I don’t like or sending nothing at all.

Thankfully, Minted.com is stepping up to the plate to help me with my card paralysis.  While I have used Minted.com for a variety of business card and stationary related tasks, it never occurred to me to use them for holiday cards.  Seriously, sometimes the answers are right under your nose! Their Christmas photo cards were the perfect solution for my quandary  – tons of easy to use templates and I could upload any picture I wanted.  The hardest part was deciding which template I liked best and which picture(s) to use.  Since I already had an account with Minted.com the process of creating a card using their template wizard was about the same amount of time I spend waiting on microwave popcorn.  Matter of fact, the templates were so easy to use that I sorta got carried away and made three different cards……

Sugar Minted

[merry scriptmas christmas photo card template]

Spice Minted

[joyful script christmas photo card template]

Nice 2 Minted

[shimmering joy christmas photo card template]

So which one should be my official card for this year – sugar, spice or something nice?  With onscreen approval and two-day delivery, you still have time to get the cards in the mail and look like one of Santa’s rockstar elves and not the Grinch!

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

[disclaimer:  this is a sponsored post from Minted.com. however, all thoughts and opinions are solely my own.]