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!!!!

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Decorating for Christmas with …

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 column…..


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…..



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…..


So are you tempted to learn more about my Christmas decorating secrets?  Well go visit 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 ]

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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…


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 …….


Courtney-HolidayFashion-33 Courtney-HolidayFashion-46

Courtney-HolidayFashion-51 Courtney-HolidayFashion-48


[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.

Thanksgiving Help from & ….

Can you believe that this time next week that it will be Thanksgiving?!?  Kinda crazy right?  Well don’t stress out because I teamed up with two different partners to show you how to avoid the Thanksgiving “craziness” ……..

Joyus Screenshot

The online retailer invited me onto their web talk show to discuss my short cuts and tips on throwing a stress-free holiday party and creating beautiful holiday tablescapes.  In the segment I show three different table settings that can take you from Thanksgiving all the way through New Years without breaking the bank or you in a cold sweat!  It’s all about creating a fun and easy approach to decorating.

Courtney Lake Thanksgiving Buffet

For my monthly column at, I am talking about how to set up a Thanksgiving Buffet.  Whether you are opting for a more relaxed holiday this season or a simply don’t have the room in your abode, I show how you can create a beautiful buffet that will wow your guests and leave you with time to still enjoy the meal!

And next week for all you procrastinators still in need of a menu, I break down my picks for simple, quick and yummy Thanksgiving dishes!  So relax I got you covered this holiday season!  Now I just have to follow my own advice and get started!  Sometimes the “teacher” is the worst pupil.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to start planning own menu…..

[photo credit: by adza]

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.

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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Holiday Snapshots…..

Thanks to copious amounts of eggnog, champagne and mulled wine I have found my holiday spirit or your inner drunkard…..but regardless I am officially relaxing to enjoy the holiday season.  As I settled into my holiday buzz, I realized that  somewhere in my “holidaze” I never posted pics of this year’s holiday decorations.

So I humbly present some shots of the house  decorated for the holidays as we enter into this Christmas Eve….

CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Collage 3 CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Collage 4 CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Collage 5 CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Collage CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Tree Collage

Is it perfection?  Not by a long shot.  Does it need to be?  Nope.  What it needed to be was a warm and welcoming retreat for our family and friends as we gather then near for the holiday.   And it does that in spades.

As the day fades to night, take time to celebrate your accomplishments, appreciate your family and love the moment you are in because it only happens once.  That is my holiday wish for each of you…..stay present and soak it all in.

Okay, I am thirsty again and running out of stuff to spike….. so MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Valentine Day Table: Animal Magnetism…….

Love is in the air.  And smog, but that is a rant for another day……

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and this year I am feeling feisty – like a 90-year-old woman who has just got a new pair of support hose, a sparkly pair of orthopedic shoes and a free bus pass to Atlantic City.  Yes, indeed, Poppa Bear was on the prowl and my creative juices are bubbling.  So I created an imaginary client who was just as saucy as  I was feeling.  Let me introduce you to Maggie, a 55-year divorced mother of 2 teenagers.  She has a full and happy life that keeps her busy.  Between her work as a real estate agent, the boys and her boyfriend of 10 years, Scott, she barely has any time to do anything but eat and sleep.  However, the one day she holds sacred is Valentine Day.  She thinks it may be backlash from the fact that her ex-husband all but ignored the holiday while they were married.  No flowers, no fancy dinners, not even a freakin’ balloon and a stuffed animal.  Since dating Scott, she has made sure that they celebrate the holiday in a special way every year.

This year, she wanted to do something intimate at home for her and Scott.  The boys are at their Dad’s house, so it’s just them.  So she hired a personal chef to cook them dinner and me to create a tablescape that reflected her wants of a setting that was romantic, playful and a bit naughty.  Maggie really wanted the evening to be about showing Scott that she is attracted to him as much as when they met over a decade ago.

Hearing Maggie’s request, I asked her to tell me how she met Scott.  She went on to explain that she actually stalked Scott for several weeks through mutual friends until she had the right opportunity and then pounced on him.  The words “stalked” and “pounced” instantly got me thinking feline.  From there, I just ran with the notion of mixing animal prints; cheetah, leopard and faux snake skin in an unexpected color scheme of peacock, silver, and baby blue with a healthy dose of white to balance everything out.  A low centerpiece of hot pink roses along with purple & white tulips adds in a touch of romance as do the rose petals strewn about the table.   It’s an unexpected Valentine Day palette but I think it reflects the animal magnetism that introduced Scott and Maggie but also the romance that keeps them together.

So what do you think?  Does this design light your fire or put a dampen on your groove?  Tomorrow, I will break down the table and explain how I made the super easy octagon cheetah placemats.

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