Guy’s Guide to Non-Girly Gifts ….

I have a friend who emails me precisely the weekend before Thanksgiving and asks me to list the five things he should tell his family he wants for the holidays.  What started off as a joke has now become a tradition among friends.  My friend explains it simply as “Courtney picks out s**t for me that I wouldn’t and my wife and family couldn’t.”  If that isn’t a ringing endorsement than I don’t know what you are looking for!

I think gifts for guides should be a mix of stuff you know they would want, stuff you know you want them to want and stuff that will leave his family slightly puzzled on why.  Trust me, it works…….

Courtney Out Loud Guy Gift Guide[clockwise] Zara Patterned Sweatshirt // Mark & Graham Contrast Stitch Handkerchiefs // Mast Brothers Chocolate // Restoration Hardware Whisky Stones // St. George B & E Bourbon // Bitters by Thomas Parson

Courtney Out Loud Men's Gift Guide 2

[clockwise] Wildsam Field Guides // Unionmade Stripped Long Sleeve Tee // Chemex Wood Handle -8 cup // Varvatos Converse-Laceless Chuck Taylor // Bespoke Home Sallwax Dopp Kit // Aesop Post Shave Lotion // Miansai Leather Hook Bracelet

You know what else works?  That everything on this list is under $100 and can  be bought online.  No need to schlep to the mall, drive aimlessly for a parking spot and then scarf down an Auntie Anne’s pretzel with cheese sauce out of pure frustration.  You can kick back and shop for that special lad in the comfort of your own home!  Now turn back on Netflix with the smug knowledge that you have yet again outsmarted the masses….

Bravo.  Bravo.  And bravo…..

Be sure to check out my gift guide for the stylish lass…….

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Christmas with Home Depot ….

I am positive I was a magpie in my past life.  How else can I explain my unabashed love of all things that shimmer, glimmer and shine.  I typically keep it under control but come the holiday season, it gets bad……like a sugar addict trying to control their urges during a cake testing.  With so many visually tempting and delicious options, how can you not try just a little?  So imagine my delight (and The Partner’s chagrin) when the folks at Home Depot asked me to participate in their Holiday Style Challenge?

Courtney Lake for Home Depot

And for me, I love hues of bronze, silver and brass with equal abandon, so why stop at one?  So I didn’t!  I mixed metals with abandon and glee, creating a layered approach to decorating the first floor of my cozy condo.  Deep bronzes, shiny silvers and patines brass played nicely with each other in my tablescape and overall design……

Check out Home Depot’s blog, The Apron to see the full story.  But if you are itching to try to recreate the look, check out my recommendations below…..

HD Get The Look

Clockwise: Tree Skirt//Crown Bowls//Druzy Placecard Holder//Wine Glasses//Dessert Plates//Gold Flatware

HD Holiday Tree

Clockwise: Ornament & Tinsel Wreath//Tree Figurine//Beaded Crown//Metallic Ornaments//Tinsel Floral Picks

[photo credit: photo by adza// styling credit: 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.

[disclaimer:  home depot provided product for the photo shoot but all thoughts are mine]

Faucet “Rorschach with Gessi …

I spent alot of time alone as a child, so I made up games to amuse myself and one of these was something I called “find a face” where I would look at ordinary objects and force myself to see a pattern in it.  Clouds became marching elephants.  Tree trunks hid amused faces.  Mail boxes morphed into robots.  As I grew older, I couldn’t quite shake the habit and still to this day, I find myself spotting figures, faces and animals where none should exist. It’s a handy tick to have when stuck in a long line or bored out your skull having run out of reading material while on a plane.

However, this quirk does pop up in odd situations like when looking at faucets.  Gessi, the maker of high-end faucets, fixtures and accessories for the kitchen and bath, was kind enough to be a sponsor of BlogTour London and invited the attendees to review their products.  What started out as a small Italian workshop in 1992 has morphed into an international powerhouse brand that produces sleek, modern and extremely beautiful goods.  As I perused their wares, I noticed many of the company’s contemporary designs had either a curvilinear feel to them that almost felt organic or a super regimented structure that harked to machinery and engineering – both equally engaging and satisfying in my book.

As I dug deeper into Gessi’s portfolio, my quirk did arise and I found myself seeing similarities that may or may not have been intentional…..


The Goccia reminded me of The Birth of Venus by Botticelli — the liquid, almost fluid quality of the nozzle reminds me of water droplets.  In my mind’s eye, I can see the Goccia rising from the stillness of the sea to an awaiting customer excited to give their bath a dose of drama.


I am not sure anyone would think Erector set when looking at the Incline faucet but I do.  The faucet begs to be placed into a rough and tumble setting to juxtapose all its modern sleekness.  It is asking to be built upon and it’s why I think it would be a stunning addition to a traditional kitchen or the much need tension in a space full of warm natural elements.


And I am positive you will think I am mad for seeing a flamingo but honestly, you don’t see the graceful swoop of the neck in the Energy faucet?  Tall, lean and slightly bent (probably how folks will describe me after reading this post), the Energy has a quiet grace like the flamingo — it’s totally fine standing out on its own for others to admire.

So there you have it – I see water, a toy and a bird in Gessi faucets.  Crazy?  Perhaps but I dare you take a look at their portfolio and not let your mind soar for a moment.  I promise you with Gessi’s ability for merging technology and design, you just may be seeing some strange and wacky things yourself!

[photos: Gessi]

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:  gessi was a sponsor of blogtour london 2013 but all thoughts and opinions are mine.