After a super busy week last week, we’ve had time to breath this week and read a bit, work a lot, relax a bit. Enjoy some of our “Best of the week” thoughts for this pre-Halloween season.
Best of High Point Market – Hands down, the Selamat Designs showroom won! Full of texture, shapes and natural materials, there’s something for everyone.
Best of TV this week – The Great American Read finale on PBS was Tuesday night, with a countdown of the America’s most-loved 100 books. Check and see how many you have read. What do you think is the #1 book? And no, it’s not H.P...
Best of Podcasts this week – Ohhh, doesn’t an captivating podcast make time in the gym fly by faster?! Jill’s enjoying the Jennifer Allwood show, Building Your Creative Business and Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Our good friend, Effie’s Papers lists her favs on a recent blog post too. Variety is spice for your ears!
Best of Shopping this week – We are seriously making our Christmas shopping list now, to take advantage of the Camp Twin Lakes Partners Card. Get your card at any number of local retailers or save $10 and get a mobile card online, then use it from Oct. 26 to Nov. 4 to receive a 20% discount on 450+ participating retailers and restaurants. You’ll be helping a local non-profit provide camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges.
Cheers to the weekend, and feeling good and doing good!
National Thrifting Day may be a made-up holiday, but we are all in! Or junking, or antiquing, or whatever you call it, it’s the hunt for something special, something with patina, something that evokes a childhood memory. Why would I want to go thrifting, you may ask? How do I start? Here are 5 proven tips and strategies for your flea market fun.
It’s fun! Whether you’re with your partner, an adventurous friend or quality time with your self, we all benefit from literally getting off the computer, out of our routine, and exploring with our eyes, hands and minds.
After 35 years of exploring flea markets, estate sales, junk stores together, Steve and I have developed a strategy. There are the categories we’re always drawn to, pretty linens, dishes (yes, I know we don’t need anymore), ephemera (see postcard above), and small pretty ashtrays or saucers for Steve’s paint brushes. You’ll find you gravitate to the same types of pieces as you explore. Then we’ll hunt for any specific pieces for ourselves or design projects.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Touch stuff, turn it over, get out your flashlight to examine the nooks and crannies. Pack a small flashlight to examine any marks or repairs, and tape measure. You know the old saying, measure twice…
Next, look under the tables, inside the boxes, inside the baskets (another fav category). Sometimes the best stuff hasn’t been unpacked yet. Thrifting is a responsible way to shop too, as you are recycling old pieces into a new life.
Can it be repurposed? These vintage chairs got a thorough inspection for stability and reimagined with a fresh finish and updated steve mckenzie’s fabric.
Make a pile, walk around another loop, then give everything a second look. Does it speak to you? What else can you do with it? Check for any damage and repairs that might rule it out. When ready to purchase, be prepared to pay cash as sometimes cash sales get an extra discount.
Don’t know where to go? Besides Scott’s Antique Market, check out this listing of Atlanta’s best flea markets on Yelp. Another treasure trove are the Goodwill stores. Keep your eyes open for neighborhood garage sales and estate sales. *Bonus Tip* Sundays are usually 1/2 price day at estate sales.
It’s been a busy few weeks in NYC, baby-duty for our precious granddaughter, as our daughter is back to work. The days are full of kisses, bottles, diapers, cooking, walking, reading books aloud, singing songs, and all around family fun!
Here’s a peek into what we’ve done, seen, eaten or discussed this week on the Upper East side –
Art – The Met and Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Granddaughter has seen the exhibit three times now : )
Food – Hooray for neighborhood newcomer, Van Leeuwan Artisan Ice Cream – *bonus tip* Get the sundae with three scoops and all the trimmings. It costs less than getting three scoops on a cone. Oh, and the strawberry tastes just like freshly picked strawberries!
New parents have got to keep up their energy, so we’ve been cooking lots – new favorites like no-cook Energy Balls and old favorites like Jamie Oliver’s Salmon Packets.
And can you guess what’s in this photo?
If you guessed homemade chicken stock, then you’re correct! Our s.i.l. (son-in-law) has perfected Instapot chicken stock and found these fun blue silicone freezer molds so you can freeze the stock, then stack the frozen blocks in a zip lock baggie. Pull out a delicious, homemade one cup serving at a time. Check out the NYTimes recipe from Melissa Clark, Instapot cooking guru.
Baby girl clothes and bows – All the favorites like Gap, Carters, Little English, Baby Bling hair bows, Starry Knight shoes, onesies painted by artist Papa Steve!
Best board books – (Go straight to Saturn Booksellers and they’ll ship all the latest to you or a loved one). My new favorite is The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli. Chomp, chomp, chomp! What’s your favorite read-aloud child’s book?
Not only have we (hopefully) helped our adult kids ease into family-work-life balance, but we’ve gotten to dote on them and this precious baby girl. For that, we are very thankful for the time, love and support from our friends and family.
Need a creative recharge? Who doesn’t?! How about an Italian abstract painting workshop? Complete with lodging, instruction and all supplies, and no previous experience necessary, just bring your enthusiasm for art, Italy and creativity.
Steve McKenzie is leading an abstract painting workshop at Annette Joseph’s magical La Fortezza in northern Tuscany on Sept. 19 – 24th. Inspiration is everywhere!
We were lucky enough to visit Annette earlier in May. The magic begins as you approach the home, and up on the mountain sits Annette’s fortress.
Annette, styling expert and author, has created beautifully appointed living and working spaces, as well as incredibly comfortable guest quarters for the students that are unparalleled. It feels a little like a visit to a monastery where furnishings and the views take you to a place of contemplation and inspiration. We’ll do a bit of shopping too, as part of the class, visiting the local market and antique shops.
These cozy places, coupled with a superb cocktail, and nibbles, encourage congregation and conversation.
We were greeted in typical Annette fashion with a delicious, as well as beautiful, Aperitivo of Negroni and nibbles, taken straight out of her new book Cocktail Italiano. A delicious dinner of pasta and salad followed, just reminding me of what a talented cook Annette is.
I am excited that a cooking lesson in the commercial kitchen will be part of our fall workshop. Can’t wait to cook on her La Canche stove!
I strolled over to the La Fortezza vineyards with Annette and Jill. The beauty of this location really spoke to me and inspired me to paint en plein air. During the workshop we will take a picnic lunch out here and paint, eat and drink. The colors and vistas are one of the most inspirational places I have visited.
On the stroll back to the house, I filled the market basket with wild flowers from the property as well as colorful roses from her rose garden. The most beautiful arrangement quickly came together in a beautiful pitcher from Annette’s copper collection. We will incorporate a quick floral arranging lesson during my workshop as well.
I can’t wait to return and share all the fabulous experiences with my students during the workshop September 19-24, 2018.
There are only a few spaces left, register today, and as they say in Italy, Ciao!
February was a fabulously fun and busy month for us! First, our son’s rehearsal dinner and beautiful wedding at The The Stave Room (stunning photo backdrop, thanks to ASW Distillery) and then we hosted a baby girl shower for our oldest daughter who is expecting their first child very soon.
So, please enjoy some moments of pink and gold happiness from the Atlanta and NYC Baby Girl celebrations, perhaps taking some notes on recipes and decor for your next celebration.
Topping off the light chicken salad luncheon, guests had their choice of delicious CamiCakes cupcakes or pretty pink sugary sweet iced butter cookies. Some of us had to taste both!
Aren’t those sugar succulent toppers the cutest?! It’s amazing what you can find on Etsy.
In keeping with our baby girl pink and gold theme, our dear friend and tastemaker, Paige Minear of The Pink Clutch suggested the perfect rosemary, grapefruit cocktail recipe from Australian blogger, Tell Me Tuesday and you can get it here. Pretty and pink!
Remember to look in your cabinet for serving pieces as shown by the mint julep cup holding the gold and white paper straws.
We’ll keep you posted on upcoming developments as there’s nothing like a new baby to bring joy to our world.
Merry Christmas dear friends, family, clients, customers and team members!! We wish you the happiest holiday and pray you spend the day with your loved ones, enjoying this special time together.
And don’t forget, take a minute to put your feet up, relax and be IN the moment…
Holiday greetings from our family to yours!
We hope you spend the holiday with the ones who are most special to you. And enjoy those leftovers!
We look forward to seeing you in the steve mckenzie’s showroom tomorrow for our Black Friday specials – there are some great deals to be had; and don’t forget about our free gift wrapping service!!
Hosting holiday guests may seem daunting, but we’ve got three easy ways to refresh your home for guests – and they’re all 30% OFF right now, at steve mckenzie’s, so they won’t break the bank!
- Pillows. New pillows can instantly- and beautifully – update any sofa, chair, bed, chaise, settee, etc…. you get the picture. And has steve mckenzie’s got a fantastic selection for you! Here are a few of our current favorites:
Lamps. Not only will a new lamp help brighten a dim space, they can provide a bit of sparkle in a room, jewelry for your current home decor ensemble, if you will. A fantastic lamp can also provide a stunning sculptural element and add needed height on tables which may be lacking. But, a good lamp can be hard to come by. Good thing you have access to the experts, and a glorious selection at steve mckenzie’s; including these:
Throws. Much like pillows, a new blanket or throw can do so much for a space. It can add the perfect pop of color to your bedding, offer loads of texture when draped over the corner of a sofa or provide softness and warmth set over the back of your Adirondack chairs near the fire pit. Here are a few fabulous options currently in stock:
And remember, all of these – plus SO many more – are available at steve mckenzie’s, 30% off now, through the end of the holidays! Please stop in today for best selection and let one of our team members help make selections both you, and your holiday guests will adore.
Earlier this fall we had the pleasure of collaborating with Lisa Rieves, owner of The Front Porch of Vinings, to design a dinner party bursting with the colors of autumn and BIG on style. The backdrop could not have been more perfect; we staged our table setting in Lisa’s beautiful home and this provided direction of the rest of decor.
As you know, we love starting with floral and the centerpiece for party was no different! Floral was purchased from Trader Joe’s the morning of the event – this really gave us that fall color and helped establish the palette. Our selections included roses, gerber daisies, sunflowers, and little petite daisies. But we think the actually came from a walk together with Lisa through her beautiful garden gathering hydrangea, ferns, branches and vines. We set the centerpiece in a lovely lichen and moss-covered urn Lisa already had and combined the greens and flowers for an abundant, yet casual arrangement. The floral, coupled with Lisa’s beautiful distressed candlesticks, set the stage for the rest of the tablescape.
We then turned to Lisa’s gorgeous open shelves, abundant with dishes, glasses, serving pieces and more – this is when the fun really began! Lisa purchased her Gien and Le Jacquard Francais from our showroom and it looks just stunning presented this way in her home!
As the base for our placesettings, we chose these beautiful, boxwood placemats, which can be found at The Front Porch of Vinings. The green makes such a lovely, lush grounding for the charger and dishes, coming up next…
We then turned to this beautiful Pont aux Choux (in Cream) as the charger from Gien. We love the detail the scalloped handles provide.
The dinner plate is Gien’s Pont aux Choux in Taupe, which sets an earthy, autumn tone to the overall setting.
The Gien Chanterelle dish acts as our salad plate and offers detail and interest to the overall setup.
We then completed the placesetting with a Chanterelle collection bread plate, Gien soup bowl (in Taupe) and vintage silver-plate cutlery, tied with twine from The Front Porch of Vinings, and a Le Jacquard Francais napkin.
For the beverage service, we used a beautiful cut-glass stem vessel as well as a Ball Mason Jar to add a bit of that down-home, comfortable fall feel.
Here is a quick look at the layers all coming together:
The finished look combined with the floral created a truly magical fall evening!
Together, Steve and Lisa had a wonderful day setting the perfect autumn table!
We want to thank Lisa for opening up her beautiful home and collaborating with us on this fun dinner party.
*All photos by Katheryn McCrary Photography