The Thanksgiving Table of My Dreams

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For the last couple of years, we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving by taking a trip with family. It’s a surprisingly wonderful time to travel as you don’t encounter many long lines while exploring a city since the bulk of humanity is sitting on their grandmother’s couch watching football. While I absolutely love this new tradition we’ve started, the one thing I miss about Thanksgiving is having the opportunity to design a beautiful Thanksgiving table.

Since I won’t be able to put together a real Thanksgiving table this year, I decided to share with you the Thanksgiving table I’m currently dreaming of. When I started to brainstorm what my ideal Thanksgiving table would look like, two things immediately came to mind dutch tulip vases and Richard Ginori’s Oriente Italiano dinnerware collection. I first fell in love with delftware tulip vases when Tom and I saw the dutch flower pyramid or “Bloempiramide” at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. On a recent trip back, Tom brought me home a kit to build my own flower pyramid. Mine is made of plastic, but it’s still super cool. Ever since, I’ve wanted to design a table with a Bloempiramide as the centerpiece. Now on to those pink plates. I first saw one of Richard Ginori’s Oriente Italiano plates at Forty Five Ten in Dallas. I awkwardly took a picture of the back of the plate in the store because I knew I would want to remember who made it. I think what I love about these plates is that the simultaneously seem traditional and modern at the same time, but in all reality, it was probably just the millennial pink that caught my eye. I built the resulting tablescape around these two pieces and hope it inspires you to make a beautiful Thanksgiving tablescape of your own. Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!

It’s All In The Mix

abstract art dresser interiors

I’ve always loved this image from Veranda – I love the choice of art, the colors, the textures, and especially the mix of styles. I think there are two reasons why mixing styles works so well in this image. The first is that pairing the antique dresser with a bright, colorful piece of contemporary art breathes life into the dresser, which could have a tendency to be overly stodgy or too precious. The second is that there is a tension created by placing two contrasting items next to each other that is much more interesting than if you didn’t.

I have a somewhat similar antique dresser that I absolutely love, and I’m dying to get a great abstract painting to go above it. If I did, this is how I would style it.

The gorgeous painting is by Michael Manning on Artsy, which is a great source of contemporary art, and I paired it with a wonderful occasional chair from Jonathan Adler, a unique lamp, and a simple box.

I also found several other options, below, that offer a similar take on the idea:

fhikes

I am lucky to live in Virginia, where I’m a short drive from the Blue Ridge Mountains and some of the best hiking in the country. This past Sunday, I was finally able to get back out to the mountains, which got me thinking about my favorite hikes in the area. After hiking for the past ten years in Virginia, if I had to pair down my favorite hikes to just five, these are the one’s that would top the list.

  1. Old Rag – My husband and I hiked this mountain on our first date, and he later proposed to me here. It’s a seven mile hike complete with a rock scramble and 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside.
  2. Cold Mountain – Can’t make it to Ireland? Go on this hike, which has a vast open meadow at the top. The parking area is also close to the meadow, so I suggest packing a nice picnic and enjoying it at the end of your hike.
  3. Bear Church Rock – The high canopy and stream that follow you on the first part of this hike remind me of a rainforest. If you go when the Rhododendron is blooming, it’s absolutely stunning.
  4. McAfee Knob – Make this a day trip and have lunch at The Homeplace afterwards. Don’t forget to hang your legs over the edge and get the iconic picture.
  5. White Oak Canyon – Great for dogs or when it’s hot and you want to take a dip in a nice mountain stream along the way.

What are your favorite hikes in Virginia?

A Pop of Primary

Shiraleah Clutch//Sachajuan Spray//Rebecca de Ravenel Earrings//Milly Dress//bkr Waterbottle//Sophia Webster Shoes//Katie Kime Elephant//Oliver Peoples Sunglasses

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Rachael + Logan (+ Max!)

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I’ve obviously got love on the mind. I recently had the opportunity to take a few shots of my friends Rachel and Logan and their beautiful pup, Max. One of the things I loved about how these turned out is that you can obviously tell how much these two care for each other. I think it’s funny how in today’s world pictures are so ubiquitous, yet often we don’t take the time to take a few portraits with the one’s we love. That’s why when Rachael asked me if I’d be willing to take her and Logan’s picture, I jumped at the opportunity. Even though I had never really done portraits before, I thought it was a great way to stretch myself as a photographer, but I must say, when you have subjects as good looking as this crew it’s hard not to end up with some great results. I hope you enjoy their portraits, and that you think about getting some pictures of you and your loved ones made this Valentine’s Day.

 

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Pop of Color

 

 

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Paz Collective Scarf// Ann Taylor Funnel Neck Coat //  Franchi Clutch (similar here and here) // World Market Earrings (similar here) // Frame Denim Jeans // Joe’s Jeans Heels // Loft Tee

While dressing for winter can be quite pricey, it’s also relatively simple. You really only need a great coat and great accessories that you mix, match and wear on repeat. That being said simple is not always easy, as I can attest. It takes some time to find a great coat. I had thought I wanted a camel wrap coat, but considering the one I want is WAY out of my budget, I started looking at alternate options. I found this great grey coat quite randomly at Ann Taylor. I love the silhouette, color, and collar, which can be worn several different ways. However, when I bought it, I realized I didn’t really have a scarf to wear with it. I think a beautiful scarf adds just the pop of color you need near your face when you’re wearing a neutral ensemble. I found this one by Paz Colllective at the Menil Collection in Houston. Museum gift shops are always my favorite as you can find really unique things that you can’t find anywhere else. I really love all the different colors in this one and the fact that the base is grey and there’s a little black means I can wear it with just about anything.

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Inside Fallingwater

When I walked inside the main living space at Fallingwater, I immediately felt at ease. I felt sometimes like I do in a wonderfully designed hotel room. Where you can tell someone has thought about exactly what you need to feel comfortable. You felt like you had everything you needed, and nothing you didn’t. There were plenty of areas to lounge and read a book or come together with others and socialize. While it functioned perfectly, it was also quite stylish. Yet not over the top where you felt uncomfortable, just enough to feel special without feeling precious. It was what we can only hope to achieve in an interior space.

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White Space

As an art history major, I theoretically understand the importance of white space. Almost every work of art has it, and it’s almost always essential to making a beautiful piece. Yet understanding it theoretically is very different from understanding it practically. Practicality is really the realm of the artist. It is the artist that is skilled at saying this painting would be better if I didn’t put something in that space.

The problem with my theoretical understanding is that on some level I’m also an artist. I, like you, have many blank canvases in my life to paint. These include my time, my home, and my wardrobe among other things. I often find that these areas of my life are filled with too many things that I don’t love. One of my favorite authors, Leo Babauta, touched on how to remedy this problem in his article, “Too Much to Do, Not Enough Time.” He writes: “You have too many things to fit into your container, and you’ve decided to only put the important and beautiful things into the container. That means a bunch of things you think you “should” do are not going to fit.” What Leo is essentially instructing each of us to do is to become the artists of our own lives. When you boil it down, essentially the work of an artist is to choose – to choose to only depict what is most relevant and beautiful to the subject matter. And in order to emphasize the subject matter, the artist left out a lot of things he might have felt he “should” incorporate. For instance, think about the painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso. What makes this painting truly beautiful and meaningful is really what Picasso chose to leave out. Rather than depicting the women as they actually were (as he probably “should” have done as a highly trained visual artist), he chose to depict only their most basic forms, and it is what he left out that makes this painting a modern masterpiece.

As you think about those blank canvases in your life today, and your hope that they be a little more beautiful and meaningful, I invite you to ask yourself, “what can I leave out?” You might just find that this white space is just the thing your life needs to truly come alive.

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The Mildly Frustrating Wardrobe

If you’re like me you’re mildly frustrated by your wardrobe. You have pieces you like, but there are just days that it seems like you have absolutely nothing to wear. And this usually happens after a work trip when you haven’t had time to do laundry and before a big meeting when you really need to look sharp or right before you plan to go to an event and you end up blowing your money on things that aren’t really you.

I’m kind of tired of that. I hate to say it, but it kind of comes down to planning. I’ve never, ever sat down and evaluated what I want out of my closet, what I have that I like, and what I would need to get to a place that was less frustrating. For a long time, I put this process off because I felt like I needed to have the “perfect” wardrobe. You know one of those minimalist wardrobes you see all over Pinterest that allow you to be dressed for life with only 3 things? And so I put it off.

But I’ve come back to the idea with a different, looser, more realistic mindset. First off, I’ve accepted that the perfect wardrobe doesn’t exist. There will be events that come up that I never imagined, and suddenly I’ll need or want something I never expected. Second, Fashion is always changing, and if you want to be stylish you will always be trying new things with your wardrobe. Third, I might not be able to get rid of all my frustrations with my closet, but I can be more intentional about my wardrobe.

So what do I want out of my wardrobe?

I want to be stylish, well-dressed, and comfortable with minimal stress for the activities I do on a normal basis.

What are some goals I would like to achieve?

I would like to have two weeks worth of outfits that I like wearing and that are appropriate to the activities I do on a normal basis. One of the problems I run into is that I have a few outfits I really like, but often times when I want to wear them the outfit is dirty or at the dry cleaners or I’ve already worn it once that week. So two weeks worth of outfits seems like a reasonable, but not over the top thing to have.

Basically I want to build a wardrobe foundation. These items might not be all that I own, but they will be key pieces that enable me to not be as frazzled in the morning, know I have stylish and professional things to wear, not have to do laundry every week, and feel appropriately dressed for the normal activities of my life.

I’ll keep you updated on my journey from mildly frustrated to (hopefully) mostly satisfied.

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The Importance of Style & Intelligence

I took a tour of McCormick Observatory a few months ago, and came across this old picture of an astronomer at the University of Virginia. I really got a chuckle out of the fact that he was wearing a full suit and tie to stare at the stars. It also reminded me of the famous Oscar Wilde quote “you can never be overdressed or overeducated” because this picture is such a perfect visual depiction of that idea.

As someone who’s interested in both fashion and learning, I’ve always loved this quote because it marries two areas that often seem quite opposed. I think we more commonly think that highly intelligent people do not have fashion sense, and that stylish people are not well-educated. However, I, like Wilde, do not find the realms mutually exclusive.

In fact, by linking these two ideas together, Wilde insists on the importance of both, and that each is dependent on the other. You are not truly well-dressed if you have not educated yourself, and you are not fully educated if you cannot dress properly. While they are distinct arts, they both indicate a level of respect for oneself and one’s world. You are in effect saying I care enough about myself to take care of my appearance, and I care enough about the world I live in to learn about it. Both show gratitude for the gifts you’ve been given and are important areas to cultivate in our lives.