Gift Guide for the Pampered Pooch ….

I am a proud pet owner.  If you follow me on Instagram you will probably know that it is littered with snapshots of my pup, Scruffy….

Scruffy Collage

I love that little mutt like he is member of the family, so it makes sense that as Christmas approaches, I am searching for the perfect little something to stuff into his stocking (and yes he has a stocking).  If I was a betting man, I think that there is a strong possibility that one (ok two..) of these items may find their way into Scruffy’s life come Christmas morn …

pampered pooch gift guideClockwise: Petite Doggie Rope “Cigars” // Ralph Lauren Fair Isle Dog Sweater // Porcelain Geo Bone Dog Bowl // Union Made Hand Dyed Ombre Dog Leash // Jax & Bones, Jerry the Giraffe Dog Toy // TheArtfulPet Custom Pet Portrait // Collapsible Water Bowl

Typically I am against dressing up animals as little humans but I think I may break my rule for that Ralph Lauren doggy sweater.  ACK!  I can justify it by stating that is has been unseasonably cold this year in California.  But honestly, while the sweater may help fight the chill for Scruffy, it 100% warms my heart!

Don’t miss our other gift guides:  Stylish Finds for the Stylish Lass and the Non-Girly Gift Guide for Guys…..

Now if you excuse me, it’s time for Scruffy’s walk and I don’t want to be late!

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.

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Throw Back Thursday: Chinoiserie Chic Christmas Tablescape…..

I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane to look at a Christmas tablescape I did last year for the Nate Berkus Show. I created a tablescape I labeled “Chinoiserie Chic” – it had elements from several Asian cultures mixed with a traditional Christmas vibe.  I combined the traditional color scheme of red and white but filtered through the use of non-traditional decor like wicker lanterns, shadow boxes, paper flowers & fans.  Throw in some overtly Asian touches like red envelopes and you end up with what I am calling a “Chinoiserie Chic Christmas Table” ……..

The tablescape is anchored the the large handmade paper flower on the window…

The mural consists of about 17 different paper flowers made from a variety of papers including cardstock, wrapping paper, tissue and my personal favorite, the red glitter paper.  I added red clip-on bejeweled dragonflies as an unexpected surprise and to continue with the non-traditional Asian motif.

The centerpiece is composed of a manzanita branch I sprayed lacquered red, white wicker lanterns, clear glass bulbs and the red clip-on dragonflies.  Poinsettias in lanterns and a trio of modern glass candlesticks finish off the centerpiece.

The Ralph Lauren Pagoda print dinner and salad plates were the inspiration for the entire tablescape and their graphic design is the perfect counterpoint to the organic nature of the manzanita branch.  Each plate setting had a red envelope which is traditionally used in Chinese culture to give money during special occasions. I opted to fill each envelope with a different kind of currency –  individualized notes to each of the dinner guests telling them what they mean to me.

In lieu of flatware, I opted for red wooden chopsticks propped on a small ceramic poinsettia leaf on top of red cotton napkins. Two different champagne flutes were used for the table to give varied height and visual interest.

A customized shadow box placemat was created using a white shadow box frame from Ikea, lined glitter wrapping paper.  An inexpensive paper fan and swan chopstick holder were hot glued in each box to remind the guest of our trip to see to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco.

Aside from the handwritten notes in the red envelopes, I wanted to be able to give each dinner guest a little something, so I created individualized flower arrangements in red Chinese take-out cartons.

Okay one more shot of the table before I send you off to do your last-minute holiday shopping and preparations……..

[photo credit: moi]

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: Out & About In Winter White …

I think one of the reasons I have had such a hard time getting into the holiday spirit is because I have not been dressing the part.  It’s hard to be full of Christmas cheer when you are sweating in short sleeves and flip flops. The mild climate is one of the many wonderful things about living in Northern California but the East Coaster in me prefers my Christmas season to be cold, snowy and blanketed in white.  Evidently Mother Nature heard my silent pleas and sent a cold snap across the country.  While this cold front caused a major case of the “bah humbugs” among most people, for me it was a welcome icy kick in the bum to knock me off my grumpy perch.

Inspired, I quickly pulled together a new set of looks for my annual Men’s Style series that celebrated the emergence of wintery holiday season but with my unique (and at times warped) take on dressing.  Kicking things off, I am doing the unthinkable – championing Winter White.  For some reason this hue (or lack thereof) seems to scare almost everyone but one I find incredibly chic.  Winter white is the perfect base upon which to layer a fun coat and pile on the accessories.  Paired with a pair winter boots and you may have the perfect out to run errands or deliver your perfectly wrapped gifts to family and friends who are too afraid to venture into the frigid holiday wonderland…….

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[trenchcoat: black fleece for brooks brothers//turtleneck: ralph lauren purple//pants: kenneth cole//boots: coach]

Jonesing for your own winter white outfit?  See below for a modified twist on what I consider to be a holiday [outfit] classic…….

Steal The Look_WinterWhite2[1//2//3//4]

Check back next week for a special edition of Men’s Style: Holiday Edition talking to the point of what to do when the invitation states “black tie”…..

[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.

Nate Berkus Chinoiserie Chic Christmas Tablescape…..

Y’all don’t know how much I wanted to share this tablescape with you!  However, I had to sit on it until today since it is the one I created exclusively for my second appearance on the Nate Berkus Show which is airing today!

When I got the call from the producers that they would like to do a segment on how I decorate for the holidays I was elbow deep in Thanksgiving prep, had a house full of guests and was planning a trip to NYC the following week.  Part of me was overwhelmed by the invitation and part of me was excited to display an idea that had been brewing in the back of my head for several months.

I had this idea bouncing around my noggin that it would be an interesting idea to do a non-traditional holiday tablescape that bad homage to my Partner’s Asian roots.  I wanted to do something that touched on his pan-Asian upbringing but in a way that was undeniably “Christmas”, so I opted to use a a traditional color scheme of red and white but interpreted through the use of non-traditional decor like wicker lanterns, shadow boxes, paper flowers & fans.  Throw in some overtly Asian touches like red envelopes and you end up with what I am calling a “Chinoiserie Chic Christmas Table” ……..

The tablescape is anchored the the large handmade paper flower on the window…

The mural consists of about 17 different paper flowers made from a variety of papers including cardstock, wrapping paper, tissue and my personal favorite, the red glitter paper.  I added red clip-on bejeweled dragonflies as an unexpected surprise and to continue with the non-traditional Asian motif.

The centerpiece is composed of a manzanita branch I sprayed lacquered red, white wicker lanterns, clear glass bulbs and the red clip-on dragonflies.  Poinsettias from Home Deport were pulled from their foil pots and placed in the lanterns.  A trio of modern glass candlesticks from CB2 were also used.  I loved how their shapes echoes the lines of the wicker lanterns.

The place settings were a steal from Marshall’s that I still can’t believe.  I found these Ralph Lauren Pagoda print dinner and salad plates for $5 and $3 respectively on clearance.  They were the inspiration for the entire tablescape and their graphic design is the perfect counterpoint to the organic nature of the manzanita branch.  Each plate setting had a red envelope which is traditionally used in Chinese culture to give money during special occasions. I opted to fill each envelope with a different kind of currency –  individualized notes to each of the dinner guests telling them what they mean to me.

In lieu of flatware, I opted for red wooden chopsticks propped on a small ceramic poinsettia leaf from Michael’s for $1 on top of red cotton napkins from HomeGoods.  I pulled two different mismatched champagne flutes from my collection for the table to give varied height and visual interest.

Traditionally, I love using tablecloths on my tables.  I love the pop of color they provide as well as the background they create for the rest of the tablescape.  However, a tablecloth seemed out of place for this table but leaving the table settings resting on glass table made the tablescape appear bare.  So I decided to create a customized shadow box placemat.  Using a white shadow box frame from Ikea, I lined it glitter wrapping paper and hot glued a variety of items inside that were indicative of the guest seated at that spot.  In this case, I used an inexpensive paper fan and swan chopstick holder to remind the guest of our trip to see to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco.  Throughout dinner, each guest can be asked to explain what they think their shadow box represents.  It’s a fun way to enliven dinner conversation especially if all the guests don’t know one another.

Aside from the handwritten notes in the red envelopes, I wanted to be able to give each dinner guest a little something, so I created individualized flower arrangements in red Chinese take-out cartons.  Each arrangement is simply a one large cut flower with accent foliage that I inserted into a baby food jar filled with floral foam.  The cartons are from World Market for $0.60 each while it took one bouquet of each type of flower to make 6 arrangements.

While this table is a little more labor intensive than my other tablescapes, the effort will not be lost on the guests.  By creating personalized and customized items for each guest, I am positive it will be a fantastic Christmas dinner full of old and new memories…..

Thanks again to the team at The Nate Berkus Show for inviting me back and being so generous in their time and feedback.  And thank you to everyone reading this as without your support, I am positive I would not have had this second opportunity.

Okay one more shot of the table before I send you off to do your last-minute holiday shopping and preparations……..

Have a GREAT Christmas, enjoy your time with your family and friends and be thankful for all the wonderful things that you have in your life no matter how small.  Peace, love and happiness to each and every one of you…….

See all my tablescapes on my Tablescape & Vignette page.  In addition check me out on Facebook and Pinterest as well as Twitter.

Sharing On….

Between Naps on the Porch

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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Current Obsession….. Outerwear

The Bay Area’s Indian Summer is coming to an end.  The mornings are crisp with dew on the grass and a frosty bite to the air.  I make no qualms about loving this time of year if for nothing else but the clothing.  I am a sweater and jacket dude.  I have never found a sweater or leather coat I didn’t love.  I adore putting chunky sweaters with fitted vests, layering turtlenecks under bombers and wearing oversized cardigans over just about anything. 

I am a walking advertisement for all things Autumn so it pains me to look in my closet and realize that I have done little in the way of investment for this season.  True that I have more coats than I can shake a stick at, but there is that almost narcotic high that one gets from buying the “perfect” piece for their wardrobe.  Problem is ….well Poppa is working with a limited budget this time around and my caviar tastes need to rationed down considerably.  So I have set a budget and I can either blow it on one fab item or parcel it out….you know trying to be adult and all.  I have narrowed down my choices to the following…..

I love this leather jacket from All Saints especially the collar.  The leather is washed and distressed, making for the perfect kick around jacket.  I am seeing this as an everyday jacket with a turtleneck, skinny jeans and boots. 

Pros: Moderately priced. Can be worn casually. Can be worn in the rain.

Cons: May not be dressy enough. Trendy collar may become dated quickly.

This sweater coat from Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers is awesome.  Lined in shearling, it is super cozy and warm.  With San Francisco’s unpredictable weather, it is the perfect “go and grab” outerpiece for the season.  I see this dressed up or down with grey flannel trousers, a fitted button down and a pop of color from a belt.

Pros: It can take me into winter due to the shearling.  It is versatile.

Cons: Can’t wear a suit jacket under it. Not rain suitable. Expensive.

This shawl wrap sweater is pure drama thanks to the master Ralph Lauren.  Imagine being wrapped in cashmere every day on your errands.   Luxury at it’s finest in my opinion.  I can see this with jeans and sweater or as styled in the picture for a more formal engagement. 

Pros: Light enough to layer. Cashmere.

Cons: Not suitable for rain.  High drama for day wear. Durability.

It’s red. I love a bold statement and this red coat from Zara totally does it for me.  In your face and proud but in a classic trench cut.  It is a great piece and totally me.

Pros: Great color. Great price point. Classic cut.

Cons: Bold color. May be too trendy. Durability

So which one do you think I should get?  Leave a comment and let me know……

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Valentine Day’s Dinner Table Setting……

I am torn when it comes to Valentine’s Day.  It’s one of those holidays that you sorta feel hostage to, like Teacher Appreciation Day or Grandparents’s Day.  Deep down you know that some marketing executive (that was me in a past life) spent hours plotting a regression curve to figure out the maximum price to sell you flowers and other things for that “very special day”.  However, I love any opportunity to set a table and entertain. 

When I was thinking about my Valentine’s Day tablescape, I tried to imagine the client and her needs.  Here is who I imagined……

Her name is Sharon.  She is 36, never married but has a fantastic long-term boyfriend whom she has been with for 5 years.  They are in no rush to get married or have kids.  Both are content and quite happy enjoying each other’s time.  For once in her life, Sharon feels comfortable.  However, she knows she has a habit being too comfortable (she still remembers the time her last boyfriend caught her shaving her legs with his razor), so she makes an effort not to slack on those little things that mean a lot to the other person.  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Sharon planned to cook dinner at her house this year.  Surprisingly the city where Sharon lived in Northern California was having fantastic weather even in the night-time, so it was decided that dinner would be on the patio.  Dining under the night stars was something that Sharon always found romantic.  However, all the red, white and pink decorations with cupids and hearts were not her idea of romantic.  She wanted to do a something simple, elegant and a tad modern.  So Sharon called me to help her set a modern Valentine’s Day  dinner table ……

I do all of this back story because it helps me think through the vibe and tone of the table as well as plan out what pieces I would need to set the table that the imaginary client would love.  Here is what  I imagined for Sharon…..

Pink, brown and amber is the color palette for this tablescape.  I knew that I didn’t want the traditional color scheme for pink, white and red, so I looked for inspiration elsewhere.  I found it in a steno pad and a chocolate bar.  Seriously — I was taking notes and eating a candy bar.  I placed the candy bar on top of the pad to reach for something and when I turned back, was struck by the color combo….ergo my inspiration.

I used three different pieces of china to create the look.  The charger plate is amber glass and was bought at Ross Dress for Less for $3.99.  The dinner plate is white porcelain and was bought from The Dollar Store for, yup, a buck.  The salad plate is Ralph Lauren from TJ Maxx for $7 — my big splurge.  However, I often will splurge on interesting salad plates since that is what you typically will see in a plate setting.  I layer my salad plates over a simple solid dinner plate and viola — you got alot of impact for not that much dough.

Rather than having a floral centerpiece on the table which would take up space, I decided to do small gifts on each plate.  These rose shaped soaps (yup, I am not above using soap as a prop) were the perfect compromise in my opinion.  Their floral shape is the perfect substitute for flowers and saves me from not spending money on an overly expensive bouquet.  Additionally, the gift is functional and can be used later.  These were only $1 at The Dollar Store, so I bought five boxes ….perfect hostess gifts!

Here is my dirty secret.  I don’t sew. I want to learn but I suck at it.  However, I am an expert presser.  I can put a crease in a cracker if you give me spray starch.  I knew I did not want to spent a fortune on special table linens but I didn’t want to go with standard white.  After reading some of my favorite blogs, I decided that I could make my own napkins.  It was quite easy…remember I don’t sew.  I simply bought a yard of pink linen from Joann’s Fabric for $7 and cut it to size.  With an iron on high, I used hemming tape to create my seams.  For the table cloth, it was even easier.  I went to Home Depot and bought a 9×12 canvas drop cloth, washed it and let it air dry.  It looked exactly like linen but was only $9.99.  I used brown grosgrain ribbon for the napkin ring and pulled out my mother of pearl silverware and standard cutlery.

The brass candlesticks were a find at my local resale shop for $3 each.  The candles….well I am not proud but they are $1 tapers I spray painted in Sweet Pea (Satin) by Rust-Oleum.  I am sure that I will get some horrible cancer from burning them, but I could not find pink tapers to save my life!  Desperation is the mother of invention, so I made my own with a $3.50 can of pink spray paint.  The wine glasses are the luster amber set from Pier One. 

I  know some of you are wondering, why brown and amber for Valentine’s Day?  Well, I find that amber and brown glass have a beautiful reflective quality when lit.  It casts a warm glow and makes everyone look that much sexier in my opinion.  Since the dinner table I set will be primarily light with candles at night, the reflective elements from the charger and the glassware along with the warm brass tones of the salt-n-pepper shakers and candlesticks are going to wash the diners in warn golden tones — perfect when you are setting the mood for romance.

Okay, one more shot of the table……

As usual here is a breakdown of the tablescape:

  • Table Cloth: Canvas Drop Cloth (9×12) from Home Depot: $9.99
  • Napkins: 1 yard of linen fabric from Joann’s Fabric: $7/yard
  • Napkin Rings: Grosgrain Ribbon from Joann’s Fabric: $3.49/roll
  • Silverware: Vintage Mother of Pearl & everyday Cutlery from eBay and Costo
  • Glassware: Luster Amber Wine Goblets from Pier One: $5 each (bought on sale during Thanksgiving)
  • Charger Plates: Amber Glass Chargers from Ross Dress for Less: $3.99/each
  • Dinner Plate: White porcelain plate from The Dollar Store: $1/each
  • Salad Plate: Ralph Lauren “Ribbons” salad plate from TJ Maxx: $7/each
  • Salt-n-Pepper Shakers: Antique bird shakers from eBay: $6.99/pair
  • Candlesticks: Brass candlesticks from resale shop: $6/pair
  • Candles: Taper candles from The Dollar Store: $2/pair
  • Centerpieces: Rose shaped soaps from The Dollar Store: $1/each
  • Miscellaneous: Rust-Oleum Spray Paint in Sweet Pea ($3.49)

Total Cost: approximately $75 if you bought everything as laid out brand new.  However, I encourage you to take the tablescape concept and use what is in your home already.  I only spent slightly over $25 on new materials and supplies while everything else was recycled from what I already owned.  Just remember, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune to have your table look like a  million bucks!