Many thanks to Katie of the Modern Eve blog for including Nonsense & Sensibility in the 12 Days of Holiday Gift Guides from over 30 Dallas-based design and style bloggers! I absolutely loved pulling together these pieces for an adorable project. To shop my “rustic chic” picks below, please visit Modern Eve. I’m looking forward to grabbing coffee with Katie very soon. Cheers to all of her hard work on this!
book jacket: William Morrow
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing novelist, screenwriter, and producer – Amy Ephron. Her work includes the New York Times bestselling novels A Cup of Tea and One Sunday Morning. Her newest book, Loose Diamonds … and other things I’ve lost (and found) along the way, is a memoir and her first piece of nonfiction. Amy Ephron is exceptionally meticulous when it comes to writing. For her, a first draft doesn’t exist. “I write about one hundred drafts of every page before moving to the next,” she said, “My writing is almost minimalist, very short clean sentences.” She is sure that each page is exactly the way she wants it before she moves to the next. This type of beautiful, clean, and meaningful language is the very core and spirit of Loose Diamonds. Each short story is straightforward, touching, and honest.
The idea of the book first came after Amy’s short story, “I Love Saks” was published in Vogue magazine. Amy has been going to Saks since she was very young and much of her life can be chronicled through her relationship with the store. On her first trip to New York City, her mother brought her to Saks for the very first time. Years later, there were times when Amy couldn’t afford to shop there, but found a way to step inside and enjoy the comfort the space brought her– even if it was to just sip a lemonade. “I flew to New York once to sell a book and needed an advance,” said Amy, “I went into Saks to buy a new cashmere sweater. I used what I like to call ‘girl logic’ and thought if I looked as if I didn’t need the money, I’d get the book deal. It worked.” Loose Diamonds includes Amy’s personal experiences and stories from a young age to those that are very recent. She shares personal accounts that provide insight into a variety of aspects of a woman’s life and how to overcome and rebuild from a seemingly insurmountable level of loss.
And, Amy believes every loose diamond in life is simply searching for a setting– for a secure place in that particular point in time. “There are moments of different decades that are not all happy and I wasn’t as good natured about it then as I am now,” she said. When it comes to the end of a relationship or marriage, she recommends getting new pajamas and keeping your heart open to something new. “Loose Diamonds is about finding permanence in an often unstable city (like Los Angeles), where marriages, everything seems momentary,” she said, “It’s hoping to find a sense of stability amidst the chaos.” What truly shines in Amy’s new book is her support for women through almost every one of life’s difficult trials. For Amy, even dating the second time around after her first marriage, was oddly similar to dating in her twenties. “I made the very same stupid mistakes,” she said, “But, then you meet someone and it’s the right thing. And, there you are.”
photograph by: Jonathan Becker
From feeling the loss of Amy’s jewelry in a burglary (when it’s the memories behind the pieces that matter) to the recent loss of her entire home in a fire, Amy’s honesty, strength, and manner of placing things in perspective is beyond admirable. “There has been so much material loss in my life,” she said, “I have to be good-natured about it.” Right now, the writer seems to have a solid setting with her husband, Alan Rader, and their family. She is also a contributing writer to The Daily Beast (where she recently covered the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray), The Huffington Post, and is the founder of One for the Table – an educational and inspiring website on “food, politics & love.” Amy was recently interviewed on “The Talk” and you can find an excerpt of Loose Diamonds in T Magazine and on the Saks Fifth Avenue POV blog.
So, what is some of the greatest advice Amy shares after trying to fit in so many different settings on her own? “You have to be able to say next,” she said, “It’s about licking your wounds and getting up again. There aren’t rules- it’s always changing, but as women we need to mentor each other.”
Purchase your copy of Loose Diamonds by Amy Ephron on Amazon. Follow Amy on Facebook and Twitter.
My guest blog post for Condé Nast Style Society – such a treat!
Earlier this fall, I was given both the honor and pleasure of being asked to guest blog for the Condé Nast Style Society. With a lifelong love for all things Condé Nast Publications- this was by far the happiest day of my life! I was so excited to write a holiday inspired post on throwing the perfect cocktail party. I used my very own Neiman Marcus holiday dishes that I’d received as gifts growing up and a few personal touches along the way. Because the network is currently invite-only, I’ve shared the post on my own blog as well so that you may take a peek!
My Holiday Cocktail Party as featured on Condé Nast’s Style Society!
When I was in high school, my mother (thankfully) began adding bits and pieces to my entertaining collection each Christmas. Quite a few times, these sets were from the Neiman Marcus holiday collection- a treat. One year, it was the “Holiday Shoppers” spreaders, the next a set of four illustrated cocktail plates named after favorite drinks, and another year, it was the holiday shopper plates – “Miss Elle Joe” and all. At that time, I complained that she was buying me plates as one of my Christmas presents. Now, of course, I am grateful. I look forward to finding them at the top of my storage closet each year, unpacking them, and dreaming up my next cocktail party.
SIZE & INVITATION: After throwing several different parties throughout the year, I think my favorite type of party is an intimate holiday inspired dinner with friends. It seems with this type of gathering, I can find a balance between serving as the hostess while still enjoying the company of friends. This year, I’ve decided to send my invitations via Paperless Post – a chic way to knock on the door of your friend’s email inbox while also staying environmentally friendly (save trees this holiday season)!
THE MENU: Next, is setting up the dinner menu. For appetizers, leaving a cheese plate on the table with almonds and honey alongside your favorite bottle of red wine is always a winning choice. While you finish cooking and preparing the food, your guests can enjoy your company with some wine and cheese in the kitchen, dining, or living room. This year, I am going to serve a salad and light main course for dinner. I’ve decided to use my favorite new cookbook, Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights by Sophie Dahl. Not only is the cover adorable, but the recipes are divine! The Warm Winter Vegetable Salad and the Brown Rice Risotto with pumpkin, mascarpone, sage and almonds are the dishes I will be serving this year.
For dessert, brew your favorite holiday blend of coffee and serve it with Williams-Sonoma Cinnamon Stirrers. I love to have a tray of fresh fruit tarts of lemon and raspberry on a tray with chocolate peppermint bark and toffee for my guests to nibble on. There are so many desserts and treats available around the holiday season that I often find myself craving something really fresh or tiny bits of something extremely rich!
THE DETAILS: I am such a detail-oriented person that this aspect of party planning often takes over my life! For holiday parties, I love mixing a variety of patterns, metallic, and textures. If you are going to be over the top, this is the time of year to do so! This year, I plan to use a classic holiday plaid topped by a striped metallic runner and beautiful gold placemats.
My guests will each have an ornament on their plate to take home with them that evening. My floral arrangement will be a fresh mix of oversized garden roses in various reds, ivories, and creams. The arrangement will be accented with pinecones for that “just picked” from the backyard finishing touch. I love creating a relaxed, traditional holiday table with a chic flair. I plan to cover my clear vase by wrapping it in a bright green holiday ribbon with a hint of shimmer. I think it’s very important to add a bit of DIY craft to a holiday table to keep things fun and personal!
As for music, you can create the holiday playlist of your dreams using Spotify. If you don’t have time – feel free to use mine for a start!
Thanks so much and the happiest of holidays to you with the happiest entertaining!
Thanks so much for reading my guest blog post for Condé Nast’s Style Society!
RED AND GREEN- AND GLITTER IN BETWEEN.
1. Milly Ruffled Satin Dress 2. Michael Kors Quinn Python Clutch 3. Loeffler Randall Metallic Skimmer 4. T Bags Sequined Scallop Top 5. Halston Heritage Short Ruched Top Dress 6. Stuart Weitzman Sequined Lace-Up Bootie 7. Parker Sequined Circle Cardigan 8. Kate Spade Gold Rush Collar Necklace
SPECIALTY COCKTAIL- Grasshopper:
3/4 oz cream, 3/4 oz creme de cacao-white, 3/4 oz green creme de menthe. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
SHOP A PRIVATE SALE WITH NEIMAN MARCUS: And, you thought you were seeing the best deals of the season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Think again. Neiman Marcus has set a new bar when it comes to a pre-holiday sale with style. This Wednesday, November 30th – Neiman Marcus will be offering this season’s designers at mark down prices for the first time this season. In fact, some pieces are marked down 40% off their original price. And, the best part? Neiman Marcus has given Nonsense & Sensibility readers an opportunity to shop the sale before the public! That’s right, today at 11am CST you can shop the Neiman Marcus sale using our very own private link! Now, how is that for a sneak preview?
For some added inspiration, I’ve picked out a few of my favorites to share (some of these are patiently resting in my online shopping cart as I type). Stash away some striking glittery pieces for upcoming holiday parties and New Year’s Eve! Or, jump in on the leopard trend (if you haven’t already) with a gorgeous jacket from Elizabeth & James or some funky shoes from Stuart Weitzman. And, if you simply can’t wait until the holidays to spruce up your work wardrobe, there are some incredible discounts on office brand favorites like Tibi, Theory, Milly, Marc by Marc Jacobs, DVF, Tory Burch, and Michael Kors- to name a few. Happy shopping and do save at least a few things for those eager Wednesday shoppers – or at least say you tried!
1. Elizabeth and James Foster Leather Lapel Coat 2. Michael Kors Hutton Runway Box Frame Bag 3.Milly Beaded Teardrop Necklace 4. KORS Michael Kors Enola Python-Embossed Suede Boot 5. Milly Leopard Print Jacket 6.Rachel Zoe Sequined Dolman Top 7. Rachel Zoe Ruffled Panther Print Dress 8.Stuart Weitzman Leopard Print Calf Hair Pump
SPECIALTY COCKTAIL- Lusty Leopard:
1 1/2 oz citrus vodka, 1 1/2 oz Looza mango nectar, 3/4 oz Malibu® mango rum, 1/2 oz rock candy syrup, 5 – 6 drops chocolate shell syrup. Thoroughly chill a martini glass then apply small “leopard spots” randomly around the inside of the glass using chocolate shell syrup then returning the glass to the freezer to keep cold. (This can be done hours in advance for parties.) In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, Malibu rum, mango nectar and candy syrup. Shake well until the shaker is too cold to hold. Strain the contents into the prepared glass with spots. What you now have created is a martini with the appearance of leopard hide having the look of deep tawny orange and dark brown spots. Serve and enjoy.
THE NOT-SO-BORING CLASSICS.
1. Robert Rodriguez Contrast Suit 2. Alice + Olivia Belted One-Shoulder Peplum Dress 3.Michael Kors Tortoise Link Necklace 4.Halston Heritage Polka Dot Combo Dress 5. DVF Harper Ostrich Embossed Day Bag 6.Tory Burch Bilson Clog Sandal 7.Marc by Marc Jacobs Bellini Striped Top
“Although she is hardly the possessor of any overpowering sex attraction,she is appetizing in the same chill way that a whisky sour is,” George Jean Nathan wrote of Katharine Hepburn.
2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey, ½ oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice, ½ oz simple (sugar) syrup. Shake with ice and strain into a short glass with ice. Garnish, or don’t, with cherry and a slice of orange or lemon. Adjust the proportions to your own taste, and try adding a tablespoon of egg white, before shaking, to give the drink a frothy head.
“This is hardly Queen Victoria’s style. Think Alice in Wonderland- or Colefax and Fowler on acid.” - Whitney Robinson, Town and Country magazine, December 2011
There are some moments in life when I find myself cringing much more intensely over not having Wi-Fi than others. One of these moments, was on a recent plane trip as I was perusing the new December issue of Town and Country magazine. The article, “All the Trimmings” by Whitney Robinson on the House of Hackney caught my attention and I glanced back at the photos throughout the trip. On top of a beautiful photo spread, the couple behind the brand, Freida Gormley and Javvy M. Royle have a wonderful story and certainly a great eye. And, it seems from The New York Times T Magazine, to Vogue Italia, to Town and Country magazine, this couple is not going unnoticed. This past July, T Magazine wrote, “The couple, who decided there was a gap in the market for luxury British interiors with a fashion slant, started their company, House of Hackney, in April, with a maximalist bang.”
Their eight-month-old interiors company and showroom is housed in the couple’s three-story house built in the 1850s in Hackney, the North London borough. Many of the walls are covered in a wallpaper of whimsical creatures- each seeming to tell a story of their own. The couple called the animal print Hackney Empire. “It’s full of these colorful characters, a lot like Hackney itself,” Gormley told Town and Country. The couple’s design line offers furniture, wallpaper, fabrics, china, cushions, curtains, and lampshades. This line certain adds a bit of character and flair to the traditional English Rose.
House of Hackney – Dalston Rose print
House of Hackney is currently sold in London at Liberty and has a collaborative collection with Opening Ceremony. According to the New York Times, Kate Moss is already a fan. From Dalston Rose to Queen Bee - to the new Wild Card – I can’t wait to see what House of Hackney dreams up next.
Hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving! We all have so much to be thankful for this year and I know that I am very grateful to have the opportunity to blog for Nonsense & Sensibility for the third time on this holiday! I just finished my orange cranberry sauce using my favorite recipe from the New York Times Cookbook. Guests and family members are about to arrive at my parents house and I am currently blogging by a roaring fireplace. It’s such a meaningful time of year and I had to do one last fall style inspired post before we are bombarded with the colors of red and green (starting tomorrow) to kick off the holiday season! Very thankful to you for reading this blog and have an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving Day!
Just last week, I had the pleasure of previewing the Tom Ford Beauty line at Neiman Marcus NorthPark in Dallas! As you may recall, I first blogged about the new line from the legendary designer this past summer. It was amazing to have a personal tour and walk-through of the entire collection. I even had my makeup done step-by-step using the colors and palettes of my choice. When Tom Ford first launched lipsticks alone, I was so impressed with the lasting power of the pigment. The same striking color is present in the rest of the Tom Ford Beauty Collection.
The Shade & Illuminate palette (shown above) was one of my favorite new features. This is the absolute best way to enhance or create those strikingly fierce cheekbones – straight from the catwalk. The Shade & Illuminate palette comes in two intensities. The darker color goes on in the hollow of the cheek and the lighter illuminating shine goes right above the actual cheekbone. It’s beauty brilliance at its very best! If I were to walk away with just one product – the Shade & Illuminate palette would have been it! It can completely alter the shape of your face.
For my makeover, I chose a smokey eye with nude colored lips. I love this look for the holidays. The eyeshadow quad was called “Titanium Smoke” and the blush “Frantic Pink.” For my lips, the makeup artist chose the “Blush Nude” lipstick and the “Rose Crush” gloss.
I left with the Tom Ford Extreme Mascara in “Raven” (AMAZING) and the Eyebrow Sculptor in “Chestnut.” The eyebrow pencil is definitely my new favorite. It comes with a brow brush on one side and the applicator pencil is thin and slanted- absolutely perfect for defining the brow! Brilliant. I can’t wait to add more of the Tom Ford beauty line to my collection. It’s a good thing the holidays are just around the corner!
I had so much fun on a recent trip to Napa Valley (for the first time) to visit my friend Brittany Hawkins. We went all around Napa Valley testing out her new Swirl It! app, which I wrote about several months ago. I am definitely going to write about this trip in a few separate parts because there is not a chance I will be able to choose which images to share otherwise. With this trip, it’s impossible to be a successful editor!
One of my favorite stops, was the Martin Showroom in downtown St. Helena. The showroom of Erin Martin Design is filled with an amazing amount of extraordinary objects. According to the Martin Showroom, they are a “balance of art, engineering aesthetics, and personality.” Within the showroom, you find one-of-a-kind objects designed to bring life and experience into any space.
Each object in the Martin Showroom takes you on a personal journey and each certainly has its own story to tell. It truly is a must-visit in Napa! Be sure to visit their website in the meantime, it’s just as interesting and creative and shows some of the Erin Martin Design interior projects as well!
My senior year of college, I had the opportunity to intern at Lovelace Interiors and assist the fabulous interior designers Glenda Weatherbee and Linda Holman in Destin, Florida on the beautiful Gulf Coast. I learned so much during my brief time there and the entire Lovelace Team was always a pleasure to work with each and every day. Lovelace Interiors is owned by interior designer Susan Lovelace. It is a nationally award winning design firm which has been featured in publications including Veranda, Coastal Living, Southern Living, Architectural Digest, and Florida Design. On a recent trip to the Emerald Coast, I stopped by the interior design firm to see the recently remodeled showroom floor. Lindsay Miller and Cassidy Pickens were so kind to allow me to take pictures!
I absolutely loved the recently renovated showroom. It displayed the perfect combination of contemporary beach chic. The living and bedroom set-ups quietly allude to life by the sea in an understated and elegant style. With clean and sleek furniture shapes and beautiful palettes, the Lovelace Interior showroom makes decorating a home or abode with an ocean flair a breeze. With such inspirational displays and an incredibly talented team, the interior design firm is certainly displaying their fine eye and wisdom when it comes to keeping current with fashioning interiors with a signature seaside twist.
Lovelace Interiors offers the Drexel, LaneVenture, Lee Industries, Maitland Smith, John Richard, Stanley, Lexington, Henredon, Hooker, Arteriors, Global Views, Ralph Lauren, Barbara Barry, Carter, Shermag, and Century furniture lines. And, their to-die-for fabric line-up includes: Kravet, Duralee, Schumacher, Robert Allen, Vervain, Stroheim, Scalamandre, Osborne & Little, and Romo- to name a few. I know that when I build my own dream home by the ocean someday, Lovelace Interiors will certainly be on my speed dial! Until then, I have wonderful memories of their gorgeous new showroom and the lovely individuals that work there, to get me through the times between my trips to the beach.
“We are recreating our own history and embracing the darkness that comes with it,” Eva Haberg.
I recently purchased the book Dark Nostalgia by Eva Haberg after perusing design bookshelves for something of the sorts for quite some time. I was so happy to find exactly what I was looking for with this new coffee table tome. Though Wallpaper magazine does deem his a trend, I feel it is one that is relatively timeless and we should see stick around for quite a bit. Or, at least, that is my personal hope! According to Wallpaper, the book cover “everything from the vintage laden, low-fi stylings of Standefer & Alesch’s Noho Lofts and Roman & Williams’s Ace Hotel – through to glossier interpretations at Adam Tihany’s Joule and Munge Leung’s The Foshay – Dark Nostalgia is set to be the perfect addition to any adapted apothecary cabinet coffee table.” I love the “gritty” and “glamorous” labels applied to this type of style. And, it is currently celebrated in the worlds of both decor and fashion. I’ve incorporated some of my favorite new pieces (shown above) that I feel go hand in hand with the style of Dark Nostalgia.
from Dark Nostalgia
from Dark Nostalgia
from Dark Nostalgia
from Dark Nostalgia