Black Friday: Gift Guide for the Stylish Lass….

I like to shop but I hate crowds.  I would rather punch myself repeatedly around the eyes, nose and throat than deal with the hordes of shoppers looking to score a deal.  Instead, I will be at home, nursing a rather large delicious treat as I watch movies on Netflix.  Why will I be so stress-free you ask?  It’s because I will be doing my shopping online and having UPS and Fed Ex act as my little gift elves delivering retail happiness to friends and family across the nation.

If you are of sane mind and lack the will of a mother lion looking to protect her young, then I encourage you to join me on the proverbial couch and relax.  But like I have all this week, I am not leaving you to your own devices to twist in the cruel retail winds.  My staff and I have pulled together different gift guides each with a different focus.  Even better is that everything on them is under $100!

So let’s get this baby rolling with the first gift guide – Stylish Finds for the Sassy Lass curated by my assistant Michelle who is one uber-stylish lady ….

Stylish Girl Gift Guide by Courtney Out Loud

[clockwise] West Elm Gold Flatware // Restoration Hardware Faux  Fur Throw // Mor Emporium Black Collection Scented Candle  // Bespoke Home Monogrammed Natural Linen Jewelry Roll // The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp // Yosi Sarmra Chain T-Strap // Deepa Gurnani Crystal Petal Earrings

Stylish Girl Gift Guide 2

[clockwise] Tinley Road Vegan Leather Jogging Pant // West Elm Marble Silk Pillow // Hudson Grace Marble Cheese Board // Modern House Wine by Alexsis Swanson // The Head & The Heart – Let’s Be Still // Sole Society “Skylar” Bootie 

I love Michelle’s picks and have ordered a few things for my sister from this list.  Now if you excuse me, there is a piece of pie and a hunky Norse god that goes by Thor awaiting my arrival on the couch.  Happy Shopping……

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Motivational Mondays: Valentine’s Day “Tablescape”….

Valentines Quote Shot_Horizontal

One of my favorite times of day is that hazy, peaceful moment between awake and slumber. You are zen.  Your mind is calm.  The world is quiet.  It is during those times where I roll over and look at my Partner’s face, so sweet and peaceful as he sleeps, that I am filled with gratitude for having such a special person to share my life with.

This Valentine’s Day I plan on forgoing some elaborate dinner and night out.  With both our schedules, anything that takes us past 9:30pm finds us struggling to stay awake.  So why not make your special person something truly special for the most important meal of the day….breakfast?  So this Valentine’s I plan on making The Partner breakfast  in bed……

Valentines Angle Close

Valentines Day Close Up Plates

Valentines Day Paperwhites

Valentines Day Flatware 2

Valentines Note

It is not quite my usual tablescape, why not mix it up with something I am calling a “bedscape” — perfect for Valentine’s Day.  It’s quick, it’s easy and honestly, who doesn’t think breakfast in bed is the quintessential romantic gesture?

This Valentine’s Day, I am celebrating that my dreams are my reality and my reality is pretty darn awesome!

Sources: Candlesticks & Tray : CB2 //Bud Vase: vintage//Flatware: Zara Home//Dinner Plates: HomeGoods//Salad Plates: Wedgewood//Napkins: West Elm//Champagne Flutes: Ross Dress For Less//Love Bird Salt & Pepper Shakers: vintage//Bed Linens: Crate & Barrel//Accent Pillow: Courtney Lake Interiors

[Photography: Photos By Adza //Styling & Art Direction: Courtney Lake]

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More From the Dabble Magazine Halloween Tablescape Shoot….

As promised, here are some additional shots from the Dabble Magazine Halloween tablescape shoot.  My goal was to recycle many of the pieces I already owned from last year’s table and tweak them in an interesting way for the magazine shoot.  After an afternoon drive to wine country, I was enamored with soft greens of the vineyards mixed with the amber and browns of the dried grass on the rolling hills.  This inspired not only the color palette for the shoot but the elements I would use to tweak the overall look of the tablescape.  Dried flora, moss, grasses and leaves all served as perfect “naturally spooky” background I wanted to create for the table.

San Francisco-based photographer for the shoot, Samantha Cooper, working her magic along with her honorary assistant Scruffy….

I loved mixing some glam accents such as the Chisel Glassware from Z Gallerie (similar) to break up the natural elements of the tablescape….

Green in all its different shades was the dominate color for the tablescape from the green moss placemats to the West Elm grellow linen napkins which were the perfect offset to the wood handled flatware from Sur La Table (similar).

Sadly, we weren’t able to work the fantastic bar I created into the Dabble story, but I loved how I was able to turn my kitchen island into a spooky bar for all the ghouls and goblins to wet their whistles.  Simply using cobwebs and dried grass from the Dollar Store, branches from my yard, my existing glassware, the Artesia Decanter from Z Gallerie as well as their Phantom Candelabra I was able to kit out the bar.

The centerpiece for the shoot was massive.  It was three feet high and had a span just over that, but it was the perfect canopy to trail dried grass, perch crows and weave LED candles in to create an eerily beautiful focal point.

And here is a final shot that Samantha got which I think sums up the day perfectly —  that blur in the back …. it’s me running to duck out of the shot.  I have never been so happy to sit down in my entire life!  But it was a great shoot and I am grateful to Dabble Magazine for giving me the opportunity.

Now that I have the table planned, I just need to fill it with some yummy treats!  Check out on Friday for some delicious and quick bites for your Halloween fete!

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Thanksgiving 2011 Table Breakdown

Thanks for all the kind words about this year’s Thanksgiving tablescape!  As I said, I made this made specifically with ME in mind.  This was the table I always imagined for my own dinner and I am happy I was able to create it this year!  Surprisingly, there are not that many elements and many are available at large big box stores.

So let’s  break it down…..

Place Settings

The gold charger was a score from Walmart during their holiday clearance sale for one dollar per charger.  The purple dinner plate is from Crate and Barrel and was picked up at the local outlet for $3.99.  The salad plate was found at HomeGoods for $6.99 for 8.  The napkins are my favorite linen napkins from Crate and Barrel for $4.99 each and the napkin ring was a clearance purchase from West Elm for $0.98 each.  Silverware (not seen) was rolled inside the napkin and is my everyday cutlery.  On top of the salad plate is a small ear of dried Indian corn picked up from the grocery store for about $0.75 per ear.

Tablecloth & Glassware

You may remember the glassware from last year’s Thanksgiving table.  They are the Luster Glassware from Pier One which go on sale repeatedly throughout the year ergo I am sure I didn’t pay full price.  The tablecloth is Ralph Lauren and was a great find at HomeGoods for $14.99.

Centerpiece

The centerpiece is a cornucopia shaped basket from Michaels that I light sprayed with bronze paint.  The basket was $12.99 but I used the ever-present 40% off coupon to get it for around $7.  Inside the basket, I used a variety of gourds, herbs, fruits and flowers including a large succulent cutting to anchor the centerpiece.  Pumpkins were staked to one side to add visual height and interest.

Candlesticks, Wreath & Salt-n-Pepper Shakers

All of these components are part of my core decorating “kit”.  The candlesticks are part of my ever expanding collection of thrifted crystal candlesticks that I use for various decorating vignettes or dining events.  The actual candles were bought from Ross Dress for Less for $4.99 for a set of 6.  The wreath was recycled from last year’s Christmas decorations and augmented with live florals and berries.  The pheasant salt and pepper shakers were a purchase from eBay last year that I love using for their sculptural quality.

And that’s it.  I wasn’t kidding when I said there were not many elements to the table!  If you wanted to get a similar look, here are some options, all of which you can order from the web…..

Credits: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14

Even with the table set, I feel I am still behind the ball!  So are you ready for Thanksgiving?    If so, what is your secret for an organized and chaos free holiday?

Speaking of secrets, I have one to share with you later today.  I will be announcing who won the Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway!

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Tuft Love…..

Something about tufted furniture makes me weak in the knees.  Chesterfields make my heart flutter.  Tufted ottomans make me giggle like a school girl.  Actually to be upfront, alot of things make me giggle like a school girl especially the word “jiggly”.

(tee hee hee.  jiggly.)

Okay, I have recovered now, so back to the topic at hand.  I am starting the search for a sofa for a couple I just signed on as clients to help decorate their first apartment together.  I don’t know why, but instantly when I see this couple, I think tufted sofa/Chesterfield.  Classic, regal but also effortlessly cool, a Chesterfield or tufted sofa would be a great piece for their first apartment.   I am positive it would be used for years to come.

Here a few shots from my inspiration file…..

Here is peek at a few tufted sofas and Chesterfields from various retailers that i quickly sourced.  They range from $1700 to $3000……

1. Macys // 2.  West Elm // 3. Crate & Barrel // 4. Jonathan Adler // 5. Room & Board  // 6. Z Gallerie

If they had the space, I would totally get them the Z Gallerie Chesterfield.  Yummy brown leather and overstuffed, it is the ultimate indulgence when it comes to timeless furniture.  While they may not have the space for the sofa, they may have the space for the Chesterfield Chair…..

So are you a fan of tufting or do you think it’s better left to club rooms and law offices?  Leave a comment and tell me your favorite tufted piece of furniture.

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Halloween Tablescape Breakdown…..

Sorry for the delay in this posting.  I meant to do it on Friday but even the best laid plans get interrupted with that little thing called “life”.  So take my humble apologies and let’s get crackin’…..

The Halloween tablescape was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “The Raven” which in turned inspired the individual aspects of the table from plates to flowers.

Gargoyle Place Card: Dollar Mart – I love placing a little something in the center of my place settings whether it be a flower, candy or in this case a little statue of a gargoyle.  They were purchased for $1 at the Dollar Store.  If your community doesn’t have a Dollar Store then try Amazon or  The Oriental Trading Company for similar statues.

Dinner Plate: HomeGoods –  The plates were a find at HomeGoods for $3.99 per plate.  Similar plates can be found at West Elm, Wayfair and Z Gallerie 

Flatware: Sur La Table – these pieces were bought last summer on clearance for $1.99 per utensil.  Similar pieces can be found on Ebay or if you have a budget Dolce Tableware currently has this beautiful olive wood flatware set.

Feather Charger: DIY – I knew I wanted black feather chargers for each place setting but could not find anything that exactly matched my mental image, so like any good bloggers, I opted to make my own.  The chargers are stiff black poster board and three different types of feathers.  A full tutorial will be up on the blog this week on how to make your own.  However, if the thought of being covered by glue and feathers doesn’t entice you, then check out these feather chargers from Z Gallerie and Cadeaux.

Napkins & Napkin Ring: Crate & Barrel/Pottery Barn – The linen napkins were picked up at the Crate and Barrel outlet for $1.99 a piece but can still be purchased in stores.   The napkins rings are part of Pottery Barn’s caterer box series which is also available in stores and online.

Wine Goblet: Dollar Store – So I have to be honest, I cheated on this aspect of the table for effect.   The black wine glasses I originally sourced for the table from Target didn’t photograph well.  They were too shiny, too dainty, too modern for the table but at $32 for 6, they were definitely the budget friendly option.  With time short, I opted to pull my artistic license card.  A quick trip to the Dollar Store produced 6 cut glass goblets plus gloss spray paint from my supply closet produced the look I wanted for the budget.  However, since the glasses were spray painted, they are not food safe, so they would need to be swapped out once the libations started flowing.  If you are looking to reproduce the look of the black goblets, try options from Eden & Eden or Ebay.

Centerpiece: The centerpiece is a combination of white orchids, purple mums, feathers, tinted carnations and dried flowers.  The urn is a vintage trophy I already owned and use as decoration .  Using the orchids as my base, I cut floral oasis, soaked it and inserted it around the orchids.  Taking cues from nature, I grouped my flowers into large clusters and inserted them in the floral oasis.  Black feathers were used to fill in any gaps and to reinforce the table’s raven theme.  The centerpiece was not cheap but not expensive at $50 with $27 of that for the orchids, but I think of orchids as an investment since I am reusing them throughout the house.

Ravens: Dollar Store – The black ravens (or crows if you want to be specific) were found for $1 each at the Dollar Store.  I touched them up with black floral spray (which I love since it is lighter than spray paint and dries very quickly).

Candelabra & Candles: Owned – I already owned the candelabra thanks to my Valentine’s Day tablescape but you may not have recognized it since it was pink.  Thanks to two thin coats of black spray  paint, I was able to get a gothic candelabra free!

Chair Slipcovers: Dollar Store – I found grey and black netting for $1 a package at the Dollar Store.  One package was the perfect amount to slipcover one chair.  I took a small section of black ribbon from my stash and tied to each side to secure.

So unless I missed something that is the Halloween table setting.  As usual, I tried to stay true to my fabulous on a budget motto and give some inspirational ideas you can use throughout your own entertaining.  As mentioned, check back later in the week as I show you how to make the feather chargers I used for the table for less than $5 each!

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Vignette Week: Autumn Has Fallen…..

While I have lived in California longer than I have lived anywhere in my life, I still consider myself a Midwest boy.  Today’s vignette exemplifies the dichotomy that this Midwesterner feels living in California……

This vignette reminds me of Autumn (or Fall for most of my Midwest peeps).  The colors are bold and when grouped together remind me of how the trees looked on the back roads leading to my Mom’s home in Greenville, OH.  The tree tops painted the sky with oranges, purples and rusts — and I thought they were the most beautiful things ever.  So when I saw the flowers at the Flower Mart, I was instantly drawn to them.  I placed them in simple earthen vases (Shane Powers collection from West Elm) and they embody what I think is the struggle I have fought my whole life – how do I display the beauty of my talents and not be intimidated by my humble surroundings.  Just like the flowers shine beyond their vases, I am slowly seeing that with patience and hard work my efforts are beginning to blossom and be  noticed.

How have you seen yourself grow and blossom?  Leave a comment and let me know.

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