So you did it, you invited some friends or work pals over to your place for some nibbles, beverages, and relaxed conversation. Bravo! Now, read on for some easy entertaining tips from Steve and Jill McKenzie and the team at Mottahedeh China. Your goal? A memorable and care-free evening for all.
Let’s start with a gorgeous Atlanta sunset. Then add an array of colorful Mottahedeh china, and really use it for food, flowers, holding cutlery, and more. Let’s use the good stuff!
Add some height and soothing candlelight on the buffet table. Steve swears by a variety of candle heights for visual interest and light.
Keep the food simple – finger foods and here’s a tip, many larger groceries, like Whole Foods offer catering menus. Don’t forget another of our favorite’s, Aldi’s, for cheeses and charcuterie meats, nuts, and sweets.
That’s it, easy and simple entertaining with friends, flowers, and simple food. Whether it’s celebrating the end of the week or something more like a baby shower, it’s about connecting with friends and loved ones.
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 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!
New urbanism and exciting design are just two good reasons to visit the Pinewood Forest Idea House. This Fayetteville 34 acre development emphasizes walk ability, diversity, connectivity, sustainability, and exceptional architecture. You can catch a glimpse of the nearby neighbor Pinewood Movie studios too. Weekends offer outdoor markets and family activities.
Your eye will delight in the variety of design and artwork and sensibility from the 11 talented designers who have put their unique signature looks in their spaces.
This uniquely walkable development will offer more than 15 miles of pads, housing at a variety of price points, and art center, and an innovative school. Enjoy a few more shots of this amazing showhouse…
Led by interior design firm Dana Lynch Design, the team of designers have “shown their tail “as Jason Mitchell would say, pulling out all the stops to make the space is extra special. Kudos to all!
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!
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.
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.
As you’re checking out the online sales this month, feast your eyes on some floral fashion beauties that caught my eye, including a super versatile wrap dress, fun floral heels from Sam Edelman to take you dancing, and who doesn’t love floral fashion by Johny Was?!
I don’t know about you, but gift giving stresses me. I agonize over what to give a loved one. Will they like it? Will it be in the way and not loved? I’ve found 5 winning solutions – subscription boxes that take the headache out of gift giving and make you a hero all year long!
It’s simple really, think about what your friend enjoys – coffee, beauty products, fishing – and I bet there’s a subscription box for just about every category. These gift boxes usually contain a curated selection of exclusive and/or unusual items. Here’s a quick list of five proven winners
Suthinstyle Box– a quarterly subscription for women filled with fashion, food and finer things made in and inspired by the South. Curated by the stylish Ashley Stamoulis, who calls her boxes “her love letters to the South”. Membership plans range from seasonal to annual and your mom, sister, mil (mother-in-law), sil (sister-in-law) will be thrilled!
Darlings Fine Things– Known for their wide range of beauty products, fashion and shoes, Darlings Fine Things has hand-picked a selection of goodies for $35 per month. Personally I can’t wait to try my Michael Marcus Eye Gel! Again, perfectly geared to the women in your life…
MistoBox Coffee Subscription – After polling my Facebook group of savvy Atlanta-Decatur women, this coffee company rose to the top of the crema. For our NYC daughter and sil (son-in-law), space is at a premium. So I’m very aware of not adding to their home. The solution? A six-month subscription of craft coffees! They savored all the different coffees, from six different makers! Once they received their MistoBox coffee subscription, they were matched with a coffee curator – a coffee expert who learned the kinds of coffee they liked and sent them coffee based on their preferences.
Next, one of my favorite gifts to give and receive, BOOKS! My dear friend, talented businesswoman and writer, Jill Niehaus Miner, owns a thriving, independent bookstore, Saturn Booksellers. Did I mention that she was awarded the Michigan Small Retailer of the Year award? Not a small feat these days. I could go on and on bragging about Jill and her team but let’s talk about their Monthly Book subscriptions for adults, teens, young readers and the grandbaby board books. It’s very simple. Choose your recipient’s age and Saturn Booksellers takes care of the shipping. Your loved one gets a book from you, every month. It’s a win-win! Also, do yourself a favor and sign up for their emails on book recommendations. You’ll be in the know with new releases and more.
Let me know what you think of these gift options, and I hope these suggestions will make your gift giving occasions less stressful and more enjoyable! That’s what it’s all about, enjoying time together with friends and family.
This month, we’re introducing you to one of our favorite new friends, Kalyn Johnson Chandler of Effie’s Paper::Stationery&Whatnot, an energetic lifestyle authority who is setting the trend on lifestyle accessories, travel style, and the power of Black Girl Magic
Kalyn and I met at a recent Black Southern Belle conference in Charleston. Her enthusiasm for female entrepreneurs , her smile and love of stationery and pretty things made us fast friends. With her signature pops of pink and encouraging words, she is a chic and engaging tastemaker, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Three words that describe your style?
Downtown, chic, hip
As a fashionable city woman, what’s the source(s) of your inspiration?
Believe it or not, walking down the streets of Manhattan and riding the subway are a font of inspiration. New York city has some of the most fashionable people I’ve ever seen. I take my cues from the people around me. What I love about New York is that each neighborhood has it’s own style – for example, on the Upper East Side, people are generally classic dressers with clean lines and solid colors. While downtown, in Tribeca, the vibe is decidedly expensive hipster.
Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…
Agatha Christie – I’d love to spend the evening with AC, as I affectionately call her, to get a sense of how her mind works because I love a good murder mystery. In fact, growing up and to this day, my parents, sister and I read murder mysteries voraciously. Lately, I’ve become addicted to all of the British murder mystery shows on Netflix and Acorn – Vera, Midsummer Murders, Broadchurch, Unforgotten and the like. What I love about the British shows is all of the twists and turns, they’re quite cerebral. Who knows, at a dinner party with AC, there might be a murder in the drawing room that needs to be solved!
Maya Angelou – I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid. One of my fondest memories is spending the weekend at my grandparent’s house and finding a copy of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I was probably 11 or 12. I read it cover-to-cover that weekend and she instantly became one of my sheros. Maya Angelou had an amazing life, was a generous soul, a prolific writer and an extremely wise woman. I think she’d be the dinner guest everyone would be clamoring to sit next to just hoping to gather a few nuggets of her vast knowledge.
Michelle Obama – I just kind of love everything about her! She brought a level of class, graciousness and openness to the White House that I haven’t experienced before in my lifetime. Her infectious smile and her ability to make fun of herself with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show will forever endear her to me and many. I would love to sit down and chat with her about what it was like to become a part of the upper echelons of society while not losing who she is at her core. She’s a woman I admire greatly; she stepped into a role she was very hesitant to take on … it took her a minute to figure out how to make it her own, but that she did and then some!
A pieces of/type of accessory you couldn’t live without
I never leave home without a silk scarf or a bandana. For some reason my neck tends to get cold, so I learned a long time ago that rather than be uncomfortable, it was just easier to always have a little something to put on my neck. And I’m super excited because I just designed the some really chic bandanas that we’re selling now. In addition to keeping your neck warm, they add the perfect pop of color to your outfit, look great tied around purses and do double-duty as a hat on bad hair days!
Do you recommend people follow a particular set of rules when writing letters?
My only rule when it comes to letter writing is sit down and write! I find that people love to receive handwritten notes in the mail, but rarely take the time to write them. I’ve heard all sorts of excuses from I can’t find nice stationery to I never seem to have stamps. These two “problem” are easily solvable – you can buy both stationery and stamps online nowadays. Of course I think everyone should be using Effie’s Paper to write their notes on, but whatever you have – please use it! A simple note with just three sentences can make someone’s day. And, the satisfaction derived from taking a minute to express one’s gratitude to another is priceless.
What would be the one thing you would have to have if you were stranded on a deserted island?
My Kindle and some kind of super duper charged battery pack. I love to read. So, being stranded on an island with nothing to read would be a kind of purgatory for me. I’m often reading more than one book at a time, which is why I’m partial to my Kindle, although there’s nothing like holding an actual book in your hands.
Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to an aspiring stationery creator.
Go for it! I get asked this question a lot and as I result, I wrote an e-book to help folks who are thinking of starting their own product-based business. There are a lot of players in the marketplace, so do your research and figure out what will distinguish your products from those that are already out there. Identifying your target audience up front – know who she is, what she buys and why up – will save you a lot of time and energy. Then before you jump in, learn what you can about the industry to make certain it’s a good fit for you. Next, think about your strengths and weaknesses to determine which gaps you’ll need to fill. I have a great team of young women I work with, I LOVE my girls; your tribe is your vibe! And finally, assess the direction the industry is headed in to determine where your products will fit in best and come up with a strategy to court those customers and retailers.
Bonus: Here’s a quick round up of some of our favorite ‘whatnot’ from Effie’s Paper, just in time for summer hostess gifts and even Father’s Day gifts!
Now get going and don’t forget to write to someone. You’ll make their day. Thank you to Kalyn of Effie’s Papers for being part of our Tastemaker Tuesday series! We can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon for you and Effie’s Papers.
Earth Day is fast approaching on April 21st and 22nd. How will you celebrate this fabulous yet fragile planet which sustains us? Here are three fun ways get outside and celebrate our Earth and Mother Nature.
First and most obvious, but we often miss this opportunity, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, and companionship with nature! Walk through the woods in search of emerging wildflowers and green moss. Go outside, no matter the weather!
Next eat seasonally and locally with this special offer for Georgia Grown Farm Basket from the ever-popular site Hand-Picked Atlanta. Delight your family and friends by discovering new herbs and vegetables to add to your entertaining menus, plus you’ll be helping local farmers with your support.
Remember our blog post about favorite kitchen helper, Unpaper towels? By using these washable workhorse towels from our Georgia pals Dot and Army, there’s another way to help our environment and earth, right in your own home, all year long. More points for you and Mother Nature!
And finally, another chance to explore outside at this Atlanta treasure, Blue Heron Nature Preserve. All kinds of activities are planned for April 21, see there website for all the details and year round volunteer opportunities.
Can’t wait to take shop dog, Duke, for a long walk along the Chattahoochee River soon! Let us know how you will celebrate Earth Day and use #inspiredtailoredauthentic #earthdayatl
Civil rights has been in the headlines a lot lately. Whether it’s poverty, justice, education, decent housing, the quest for civil and human rights continues today.
This April 4th commemorates the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. How will you discuss this historic event with your kids, family and neighbors? To assist us and further these discussions, take advantage of a new city treasure, the Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Mark your calendar as you can live the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with your family at the interactive exhibitions of the Center for Civil and Human Rights on April 4th from 9am through 7:30pm. Everyone receives free admission on that day too, thanks to the generous support of FedEx.
The whole family will enjoy activities built around civil rights such as the Live the Legacy Photo Booth, an art exhibit showcasing SCAD art pieces, theatrical performances of Dr. King’s famous “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speech and much more.
Wherever you are, listen for the Global Bell Ringing at 7:01 PM on Wednesday, April 4th. Join people around the world to commemorate the official moment of the commemoration of Dr. King’s assassination.
To keep this momentum alive, read the pledge for a call to peace and action.
No Justice, No peace;
Know Justice, Know Peace”
is our rallying cry.
With humility and kindness, we will come together with one another and build a community of peace and goodwill for all humankind. This is what we need to teach our children in order to make the world a better place.
You can find the Center for Civil and Human Rights at 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30313 as part of Atlanta’s beautiful Centennial Park. All photos are mine as this post is not sponsored in any way.
But it’s barely April you’re saying! Why should I look at summer camps near me now? Your kids will be home for the summer before you know it, asking what are we doing next? Do yourself and them a favor, flip to your family summer calendar, and plug your kids in a fun and innovative summer camp, thanks to MODA, Museum of Design Atlanta.
Always forward thinking, MODA believes kids make great designers! They see through fresh eyes, love wacky ideas and are brave enough to think anything in this world is possible. campMODA teaches kids to use design thinking in combination with STEAM (science, technology, engineering,art/design, and math) skills to solve problems and address real-world challenges. Believe me, these camps fill up quickly. You’ll learn so much from them too.
Do you have budding engineer or computer game coder? What about your teen activist? There’s a spot for everyone. Join one of MODA’s week-long full-day or half-day camps for kids and teens
(Pre-K through 11th grade) at one of four locations: MODA’s Midtown home,
Georgia Tech College of Design, First Presbyterian Preschool and The Lovett School
in Buckhead/Vinings. Full-day camps (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are $495 per week, and
half-day camps (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) are $250 per week. MODA members receive
10 percent discount.
Each campMODA 2018 session features one of these innovative themes: Designing
with LEGO Robotics; Adventures in Blockly; Designing and Coding with Minecraft;
Craftivism; LEGO Robotics for Filmmakers; Architectural Design with Minecraft;
Circuits and Robots; Playground Engineering and Career-Building Design Studio
Field Trips. Reserve your spot to ensure placement in the camps of your choice.